Whether you like them or loathe them, Google have been responsible for some amazing things. A week ago they unveiled something of particular interest to the hiking community - Trekker. Think of it as the equivalent of the Google Street View cars in backpack form, enabling hiking trails to appear on Google Street View just as roads do.
To be fair, I should point out that this kind of thing has been done before, by Nature Valley Trail View. I just can't help but think that Google have the resources to do it more effectively, and to get more of the world's trails online in a much shorter timeframe.
Google Street View already has many opponents in its current form, so I'd expect that not everyone is going to think Trekker is such a great idea. While I can see why people would think of it as overkill, it was going to happen sooner or later and I really can't see how it's doing any harm.
I only had one strong feeling when I first read about it, I really want to get paid to hike around with one of these things on my back. So Google, if you're listening, please give me a job! Pleeeeease!
Before you make the obligatory "soon we won't even need to leave the couch" comment, I don't think this is intended to be any kind of replacement for getting outdoors yourself. I'm not even sure why anyone would think of that as its purpose.
What it will be useful for is trip planning. It would be a good way to help choose a hike to do, and to have a preview of what you're in for before you head off. One would assume that it will eventually open up to user generated content, so it could be constantly updated with all kinds of information on hiking trail conditions and the like.
One day I might even be able to integrate it into Bushwalking Blog. Being the nerd that I am, I find all of this very exciting. Bring it on I say.
The video below shows the Trekker in action...
What do you think? Will this be a useful tool? Leave a comment below.