Google Street View is hardly new. The tech giant introduced this Google Maps enhancement in 2007 to help users experience unfamiliar locations as if they were there. In 2012, Google unveiled Trekker, a combination of their Street View camera and a backpack. This device has allowed Street View to go off road, and now even off land.
The Google team, in partnership with conservation group American Rivers, spent eight days on the Colorado River last August. In total, 286 miles of the river were traveled, from Lee's Ferry, in Ariz. to Pearce Ferry, where the river enters Lake Mead.
"Making Street View imagery available of the Colorado River is a tremendous opportunity for us to drive interest for this historical and natural landmark," said Colorado River Street View Project Leader Karin Tuxen-Bettman. "We hope this inspires viewers to take an active interest in preserving it."
According to American Rivers, in addition to mapping nearly 300 miles of the Colorado River, the team also captured "five popular side hikes," with the Google Street View Trekker, "including the trail to the Nankoweap Granaries with a dramatic view overlooking the river."
Google has also mapped other wildlife areas such as the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Hudson Bay in Canada.
The Colorado River, which used to run from the Rockies in southern Colorado into the Gulf of California in Baja, Mexico, has failed to reach the gulf most years of the last half century. Visit American Rivers for more information on preservation efforts related to the Colorado River and other great American rivers.
March 13th, 2014
Amy Kober, 503-708-1145
Washington, DC – The Colorado River is the focus of a new Google Maps Street View project launched today in partnership with American Rivers. The imagery features the iconic Grand Canyon and marks the first time Google Maps has used the Street View technology on a major whitewater river in the U.S.
Colorado River Google Maps Street View screengrab 4-36 mile rapidExplore 279 miles of the Colorado River in Google Maps Street View
The project brings renewed attention to the wonder and beauty of the Grand Canyon, as well as the challenges facing the Colorado River's health. American Rivers named the Colorado River America's Most Endangered River in 2013 because of the threat of outdated water management, over-allocation and persistent drought.
Supported by the outfitter Arizona River Runners, American Rivers staff joined Google Maps on an eight-day float through the Grand Canyon in August 2013 to capture the river imagery. The Street View camera, on a special mount built for the raft, captured a full 360-degree photo sphere every few seconds. This allows users to "join the raft" and explore 286 miles of the river, from Lee's Ferry to Pearce Ferry. Members of the team also wore the Street View Trekker camera to capture five popular side hikes, including the trail to the Nankoweap Granaries with a dramatic view overlooking the river.
"We are excited to work with Google Maps to highlight the Grand Canyon, one of our country's crown jewels," said Chris Williams, senior vice president for conservation at American Rivers, and a participant on the trip. "From the towering red rock walls to the thrilling rapids, the Street View project captures the magic of this special place. We hope this project inspires people to take action to protect and restore the Colorado River."
"Making Street View imagery available of the Colorado River is a tremendous opportunity for us to drive interest for this historical and natural landmark," said Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Project Lead for Colorado River Street View. "We hope this inspires viewers to take an active interest in preserving it."
In conjunction with the release of the Colorado River Street View imagery on Google Maps, American Rivers called on President Obama and Congress to support federal programs that assist cities and farms in getting smarter about managing their water supplies.
Thirty-six million people from Denver to Los Angeles drink Colorado River water. The river irrigates nearly four million acres of land, which grows 15 percent of the nation's crops. Over-allocation and drought have placed significant stress on water supplies and river health, and the basin is facing another drought this summer. Lower river flows threaten endangered fish and wildlife, along with the $26 billion dollar recreation economy that relies on the Colorado River.
[Source: American Rivers via The Clymb]