It has been several years since Google's influential Street View left the roads and began to map everything from shopping centers to hiking trails. The device that made this happen was called the Street View Trekker, and Google has just revealed a lighter updated model that makes it even easier to capture 360-degree images in isolated locations.
The Street View Trekker is essentially a backpack with a built-in 360-degree camera, hard drive for data storage and batteries to power day-long hikes. The new Trekker backpack is a refined upgrade on the old model, however, Google is vague on specific details.
"The new Trekker has a sleeker design and is lighter in weight, making it easier to carry," the company writes. "The camera has also been updated with increased aperture and higher resolution sensors that will capture sharper imagery."
The older Trekker weighed 40 lb (18 kg) and still managed to capture incredible moments, such as a perilous climb up the El Capitan cliff-face in Yosemite, and hiking around the ancient city of Petra. The new model certainly looks a little more compact and stylish, so with any luck we'll begin to see the new, improved-resolution images hitting Street View over the coming months.
The Street View Trekker is available for loan to interested parties primarily with a focus on capturing locations with cultural, historical or touristic significance. Google does suggest an interest in mostly working with organizations such as tourism boards, government agencies or research groups but that doesn't preclude individual travelers or photographers from applying to use the device.
If you're interested in giving one of the new Trekkers a go, the Google loan application can be accessed here.
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