THE BLOG
29/03/2018 09:18 SAST | Updated 29/03/2018 09:18 SAST

Google Street View Goes Wild In South Africa

You can now experience your favourite hiking trails and national parks in virtual reality.

Rudolph de Girardier

A team of South Africans has mapped the best of the country's wild landscapes and seascapes for all the world to see.

Google continues to amplify its users' experiences. In 2012, the company's search engine ventured into capturing photographs of places our vehicles could not go, using the Google Street View Trekker.

The Street View Trekker was a wearable backpack with a photographic system for participants to use while they were trekking. This photographic system was made up of 15 cameras, positioned at different angles, taking photographs every 2.5 seconds, for a full panoramic view of the location.

A team of passionate South Africans in partnership with Google Maps has trekked the length and breadth of South Africa to map 170 new trails, six Unesco World Heritage Sites and all 19 national parks, in a collection of the country's wildest regions.

Engadget

The project, which forms part of Google's Street View Camera Loan Programme, began mapping a few key areas around the world. This included one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain, as well as the historical monument of Robben Island.

The project was opened to companies and individuals locally and internationally to map and explore places people rarely visited. The project team were assisted by more than 200 South African volunteers from all walks of life during the 12-month exploration project.

What does this mean for South Africans who love the outdoors?

The project was driven by passion, and all the volunteers who participated were enthusiastic about sharing their best experiences of South Africa with the world. The incredible imagery captured by these volunteers is now available on a highly interactive microsite called South Africa in 360.

This site uses virtual-reality technology to showcase the imagery, in what can be described as a virtual tour of South Africa. Outdoor enthusiast and co-founder of the Cape Town Drive South Africa travel company, Andre van Kets, was the visionary behind the entire project.

"The 360° images that were captured by the 22kg Google Trekker camera were supported by amazing drone footage, photographs and videos painstakingly taken by our team. South Africa in 360 aims to create a new window into our country, and our interactive microsite not only uses Google's technology to promote tourism, but also highlights the pride that South Africans have in their land," said Van Kets.

What does this mean for South Africans who love the outdoors? You can now experience your favourite hiking trails and national parks in virtual reality.