Google Trekker

Google Trekker takes to the British countryside. First stop Surrey.

If you’ve rambled across Britain in recent years, you may have noticed fellow walkers wearing strange contraptions on their backs. This new addition to the UK wildlife scene is the Google Trekker Street View Camera and it’s being used to map 2,500 miles of ancient trails crisscrossing the UK. Here’s how it works (via The Guardian):

The first trail went live this month, March 2016. It covers the North Downs Way and is broken into sections. Here, for example, is Farnham to Guildford. Just click on an arrow to start moving. If you haven’t used Google Street View before, here’s a simple guide to get started.

The aim is to recreate all of the UK National Trails

  • Cleveland Way
  • Cotswold Way
  • Glyndwr’s Way
  • Hadrian’s Wall path
  • North Downs Way
  • Offa’s Dyke
  • Peddars Way and Norfolk coast path
  • Pembrokeshire coastal path
  • Pennine bridleway
  • Pennine Way
  • South Downs Way
  • South West coast path
  • Thames path
  • The Ridgeway
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way

Get more people walking

This project could, says The Guardian, hugely increase the number of people walking these trails.

If “the Google effect”on Britain is anything like “the Wild effect” in the US, there will soon be unprecedented numbers of people walking the national trails that traverse some of the most beautiful countryside in England and Wales.

Wild‘ was the name of a book in 2012 and, two years later, a film about writer Cheryl Strayed’s life-affirming journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, the longest walking route in the world, stretching more than 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada. Before ‘Wild’, only a few hundred hiking permits were issued for the trail every year. Last year it was more than 4,500 – and the number who walked the whole route quadrupled.

Are you inspired to get involved? Google says that if you’re a tourism board, non-profit, university, research organization or other third party who can gain access and help collect imagery of hard to reach places, you can apply to borrow the Trekker and help map the world. Start here.

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