Ever Wondered What It's Like To Be a Google Mapper?

Illustration for article titled Ever Wondered What It's Like To Be a Google Mapper?

It seems like every week, Google drags its Street View cameras up another mountain (or across another monster-infested lake). The key to recording those inaccessible places? The Trekker, a custom-built 360-degree camera mated to a backpack, which turns mere humans into living, breathing Google data-capture machines.

Advertisement

New Yorker reporter Andrew Marantz got the chance to see the operation for himself, as part of a mission to capture the Hudson River for Street View. In collaboration with the Hudson River Foundation and the S.S. Columbia Project, Google sent a team with a Trekker to capture first-person 360 views down the whole river. From his account, it’s not all plain sailing:

Beers were passed around. Baumel, above us, said “Cheers” in a forlorn way, so I climbed a ladder to bring him one. He had been in the same stance, legs wide to prevent sway, for hours. The backpack weighed forty pounds, and it was top-heavy. I asked how he was holding up. “I feel glad to be part of cartographic history,” he said. The words were slogan-ish, but he sounded sincere. “I have a huge map of the world on my bathroom wall. I’m into this stuff.”

The report is a fascinating insight into the world of Google’s special collections. I’ve long marvelled at Google’s efforts to bring the extraordinary into our sitting rooms; now, I appreciate whoever lugged a Trekker up Everest that little bit more.

[New Yorker]

DISCUSSION

i wish we had more time

I’m about to read the article, but I’d really like to know how to get involved with this. I’ve been wanting to map out some of Oregon’s hikes/mountaisn for a bit now. I really want to start a hiking company in the next 5 years and I’m already out there everyday.