One thing that Google has undeniably changed for the better is how we get from A to B with Google Maps. In the US, it’s become second nature to use Google Maps to get directions when at the wheel as well as discover new places and areas. Across the pond in the UK, the effect has been much the same and Google Maps Navigation is used by lots of users in need of finding out where they’re going behind the wheel. For those looking for a slower pace of life at the weekend, Google will be offering up National Trails throughout England and Wales for those to take a look at using Street View.
Google is enlisting the help of seasoned walkers, as well as offering a little of their own expertise, to map 15 of the UK’s National Trails. Wearing the Google Trekker camera – which can only be used in good lighting and when it’s dry – walkers will be able to help Google map the great walks and travels that England and Wales has to offer. Starting later this month, March 7th, the North Downs will be available to explore using Street View, and Cleveland Way will be the next one to arrive after it. Google is lending two of their Trekker cameras for the project, and 2,500 miles or more of the National Trails will end up being recorded for those to plan out on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. At almost 25kg, the Trekker camera isn’t a trivial piece of kit, and as mapping the walks can be a slow and arduous process, it might take some time for all of them to become available. With lots of volunteers willing to spend their time digitzing these great walks however, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
While the idea of mapping a great piece of the countryside so people can experience it at home from the comfort of their armchairs seems a little ridiculous, it could have a bigger effect on the surrounding areas. It’s easier for someone miles and miles away from the area to find out places that are on the trail to stop for a drink or bite to eat or just get a feel for the terrain if they’re unsure of how difficult it could be. It’s nice to see these great Trails finally go online, and while it might not seem like the perfect use of Google Maps, it could very well help open a lot of people’s eyes to these great wonders.