While I write about Google’s Street View and their cars with mounted cameras that have caused considerable distress in some places of the world, I have never seen one in the wild. Another thing I have never seen is one of the Google Street View trikes that have been going places that cars can’t go.
These trikes (to the right) have been busy for the past two years gathering data from places that cars just can’t get to. The trike was developed by a Google engineer during his 20% time on the job. Insidebayarea.com reports
Google’s Street View service has mostly been limited to places where cars mounted with cameras can drive. But now, Street View increasingly will include images of public and private sites ranging from selected hiking trails of the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve near Los Altos to Sea World Orlando to Kew Gardens in London.
To extend Street View to places beyond the reach of its ubiquitous Toyota Prius fleet, Google is using ungainly, 250-pound, 9-foot-long, human-powered trikes with a 7-foot stalk of cameras on the back. The trikes were the brainchild of Google engineer Daniel Ratner, who visited cobblestone alleys impassible to cars in Barcelona, Spain, and realized Google needed something to record universities, parks, trails and other places, many of them private, where cars can’t go.
The Google LatLong blog provides a few pictures of where these trikes have been collecting data as well along with its announcement of releasing much of this new material for Google users to enjoy.
In 2009 we introduced the Trike, a modified bicycle outfitted with Street View equipment, to visit these locations, from towering castles to picturesque gardens. The Trike team has been pedaling around the world, and today we’ve added more of these unique places to Street View in Google Maps.
Here is an example of somewhere where no Prius could tread but the trike could thus providing Google users with pictures from the gardens at the San Diego Art Institute.