First look at Google’s Trekker images of the Charles River


by Jessica Geller


The Charles River is now virtual.kreiter_googleboat5_biz-700x466

Alphabet Inc.’s Google Maps and the Charles River Conservancy, a nonprofit, worked together in October to produce imagery for Google’s Street View project. And Beta Boston is giving readers a preview of the interactive images that will go live Thursday on Google Maps.

The images allow users to see the Charles River as if one is on the water or the pedestrian paths around the river in Boston and Cambridge. While Instagram has numerous sunset posts taken from the riverbank, the 360-degree technology makes it seem as if one in spinning around in a circle to admire the surrounding landmarks.

A google employee drove a Google Maps Street View vehicle around Palo Alto, Calif.

A google employee drove a Google Maps Street View vehicle around Palo Alto, Calif.

“It makes people realize what a precious environment we have,” said Renata von Tscharner, president and founder of the Charles River Conservancy. She hopes the Google images, that will show a 10-mile stretch of the river from the Charles River Dam by the Museum of Science to the Watertown Dam, will encourage people to take care of the parklands area.

The photos will be officially unveiled at the Charles River Conservancy’s “River Stories III” event Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Google headquarters in Kendall Square. Tickets are still available to hear about the project which is a collection of memoirs, poems, reflections, and artwork by local writers and artists about the Charles River.

Street View launched in 2007 and typically uses images captured from “Trekker” perched atop Google cars. But to get up close and personal with the river, the project used other modes of transportation, included a fishing boat and a golf cart. For two weeks this fall Google loaned out its famous “Trekker” camera to the Charles River Conservancy to take a panoramic portrait of the river.

Google captured the Grand Canyon in October 2012.

Google captured the Grand Canyon in October 2012.

The 40-pound “Trekker” camera snaps photos every few seconds, stores the images in a built-in hard drive, and then Google stitches the photos together to provide a seamless, continuous view. Google has captured landmarks on all seven continents, including Machu Picchu in Peru, the Northern Lights in Finland, sand dunes in the desert near Abu Dhabi, and the Grand Canyon.



Read the original article on betaBoston’s website to see samples of the virtual Charles River:

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