Google to map UK canals for Street View: Rosie and Jim rejoice

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rosie-and-jim.jpgThe UK’s canal system, the waterways of choice for riverboaters and creepy kids’ TV puppet shows alike, are to be mapped for Google’s Street View service.

Initiated by the UK Canal and Rivers Trust, Google have offered up one of their rare Trekker Street View backpacks to the Trust’s members. Weighing 40lbs, the four-foot tall backpack houses a 360-degree camera and lets a person carry out on foot what Google’s Street View vans do on roads, allowing for otherwise-inaccessible areas to be mapped. It’s the first time one has been used in the UK, having previously been used to map locations like the Grand Canyon.

“We’re delighted to be the first people in the UK to get the Trekker on our backs – it’s fantastic that our 200-year old network is being given a different lease of life thanks to cutting edge, 21st-century technology,” said Wendy Hawk, corporate partnerships manager of the Canal & River Trust.

“The footage we get will allow millions of people from all over the world to see our canals, rivers and towpaths, and will hopefully encourage some people to make a trip to see them.”

Google’s Pascale Milite added: “We hope to help boost the discovery of and make these historical canals accessible to more people in the UK and across the world through Street View technology.”

Google and the Trust are hoping to map 100 miles of canals and waterways, kicking off at London’s Regents Canal later this week.

Gerald Lynch