World Walkers: Google Mapping the Globe
Published on 07/31/2012
By Shelby Trueax
In case you haven’t heard, Google Earth and Trimble Outdoors are officially joining forces to provide interactive hiking maps via GPS technology. This incredible resource will fulfill the detailed research needs of every active junky, presenting the most high-tech exploration tool for any outdoor adventure.
The activity-based feature allows directions, coordinates, difficulty ratings, and sightseeing notes for everything from backpacking and hiking to running and mountain biking. Eventually, many threads will include photos and videos of the landscape, enhancing the virtual trail experience, not to mention fueling curiosity and stimulating new adventures for all of us adventure addicts.
This will help us decipher which trails are ideal for every specific activity, as well as which areas to avoid, and even features traffic information and suggestions for other routes. And if you prefer the road less traveled, there is an option to submit your own hiking route to inspire other adventurers to check out what you’ve shared and enumerate on their own experience. It’s a great way for outdoors enthusiast to share their passion with others, which is a growing phenomenon for all types of activities and interests.
A mobile app will allow on-the-go navigation and landmark-by-landmark instructions to make sure you never stray off track, unless of course that’s your intention. You will never be alone with Google Maps, and that’s pretty exciting for solo trips and those of us who are ‘directionally challenged’.
The only downside: many argue that this technology will allow insight into well-kept secrets, which may lead to over population or unnecessary development in some areas. While safety may reach its maximum potential, what’s an adventure without a little danger? Will Google Maps reap us of the thrill of seeing a mysterious site up-close and personal, without any previous outlook? We’ll let you decide.