TechInAfrica – The tech giant – Google has finally placed all National parks, tourist attractions and natures reserve and others new to its Street View imagery. The project was made possible with the help of a team made up of hundreds of nature-loving South Africans who partnered with the technology giant to release a huge collection of 360-degree imagery of South Africa’s wildest areas.
The announcement made for the 170 new trails in the country’s reserves and natural parks was instigated by the Mzansi Experience precisely launched in March 2016. Prominent tourist destinations like Table Mountain, Kruger National Park, Cape Point and others, were showcased.
A new trail launched recently extends the already existing Street View Imagery of the country’s wilderness areas to include all 19 national parks including 17 nature reserves and many sites with historical and cultural significance in all the 9 provinces un-trekked.
The program had over 200 nationals volunteering to embark on the task. These volunteers were drawn from all corners of the country and were involved in a 12 months project that includes mapping out areas they call home and tourist destinations in South Africa. Many of the participants were CapeNature, SANParks and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife guides, and rangers. Others were just nature lovers, avid hikers, and tech enthusiasts.
According to the Google’s program manager, Magdalena Filak, “The hundreds of men and women that participated to make the program a success proved they were passionate about showcasing South Africa’s natural reserves and others to the entire world as they participate in the loan program.
The hundreds of volunteers were coordinated by Drive South Africa, the loan program partner. One of the participants, Andre Van Kets when applying to participate in the program, said he saw the need to showcase South Africa to the world. Andre Van Kets is an outdoor enthusiast and owns a travel agency in Cape Town.
Van Kets explained that the Trekker camera is a custom-made 50 –pound backpack that comes fitted with 15 different cameras facing all directions. Its onboard technology helps to plot the exact location of the camera on the trail. The camera also takes a 360-degree photo while recording and it does so every two seconds.
“This would be the first time in history that travelers and lovers of wildlife from different parts of the world can explore the complete potentials of the diverse and unique wildlife area in South Africa. According to Van Ket, this is made possible with the help of the Google Maps and Street View.