Google Maps to include Hawaii trail views

Trekker technology on loan to Hawaii Visitors Bureau

Published  4:51 PM HST Jun 27, 2013
HONOLULU -

It's about bringing trails to life.

These pictures are the latest innovation from Google-- and what's called "trekker technology"-- a 360-degree gizmo on loan to the state.

The Big Island's Hawaii Forest and Trail owner Rob Pacheco has been learning how to  master the trekker contraption.

Over the next three months his company will be mapping more than 60 miles of trails as part of a global endeavor.

"I have had a love of maps since I was a young kid and so I have been a big fan of the Google technology. This is just taking it to another level," said Rob Pacheco.

”We are really excited to bring trekker to Hawaii because it has such diverse landscapes. It has 13 of the climate zones that the world has right here in Hawaii, so when I think of where trekker is going, Hawaii is giving us a great preview of that," said Google's Evan Rapoport.

 It will be no easy feat lugging 45 pounds of digital mapping power on a backpack topped with what looks like a soccer ball.

"It takes pictures every two and a half feet. They are 365 panoramas, 75 megapixels. It has 15 lenses that come together to stitch togehter to get one really big image," Rapoport said. 

 The new trail views may bring more of the beauty to the world, but there's been concern lately that online videos and pictures can lead to overcrowding or overuse. Or they can tempt hikers to try trails beyond their ability.

PHOTOS: Google Street View Trekker in Hawaii
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Google

Street View Operations Leads Jill North and Chris Fiock, assemble the Trekker at 'Akaka Falls with Rob Pacheco and Jason Cohn of Hawaii Forest & Trail.

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Click here to see more photos of the Google Street View Trekker in Hawaii.

A rash of recent falls have all come on unsanctioned trails.

"The one thing we want to do is make sure we are showing approved trails that are well maintained and a have a degree of safety to them," said HVCB‘s Jay Talwar,

 Former resident David Snow is back in the islands to take in the Makiki  trail.

He thinks more information will help people make better decisions and may keep people who shouldn’t be on some trails --off them.

 "It would be helpful for me who like to travel a lot to discover new trails and really see  what the conditions are. Also if you have kids, it makes it makes it easy to see if it's too narly for them. So, I really look forward to seeing how this evolves," said Snow.

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