Google Maps to bring Hawaii hiking trails to the world

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Everyone is familiar with Google Maps, especially since most of Hawaii roads and popular places can be found online.

Many visitors and locals use the Street View feature to plan trips or find new places or businesses.

“And if you come to Hawaii, you experience its natural beauty, the beauty of our land, the beauty of our people. And I can’t think of a better way to continue to evolve to partner with Google,” Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney said.

For the first time, Google Maps is partnering up with an outside group and allowing them to use their state-of-the-art Street View Trekker to map and give a 360-degree view of Hawaii’s trails.

The 15 lens atop the Google tracker give a 360-degree view wherever the backpack goes. Now, the backpack is going to bring the trails of Hawaii to the world.

Google isn’t saying how much the 40-pound backpack costs, but KHON2 learned that eco-trail company Hawaii Forest & Trail, based in Kailua-Kona, has already begun trekking trails on the Big Island. They plan to be done by September. The data will then be sent to California to Google headquarters.

“Each one of those photos gets stitched together to create a 360-degree panorama. We have an entire process we’ve been doing for Street View. This follows that same process. That imagery gets reviewed for privacy, we blur people’s faces, we blur license plates — we take that very seriously — and we make sure it’s accurate,” Google Earth and Maps product manager Evan Rapoport said.

Depending on the weather, Google hopes to start having the trail views up before the winter holiday season — just in time for visitors to plan their trip to Hawaii.

Click here to read more about Google’s Street View Trekker program.

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