Google offers a program called the Google Trekker Loan program. It is designed for tourism boards, non-profits, universities, research organizations and other similar entities. The program loans out the Trekker device which captures 360 degrees “Street Views” images of interesting points of interest which the Google Street Views car can not reach.
The use of the Trekker device is provided free of charge. The device consists of a special camera mounted on a backpack and it’s associated smartphone. While the device is provided free of charge and Google provides guidance as to its use, the organization is responsible for providing the personnel for operating the device and for visiting the points of interest.
To understand this opportunity further, here are several articles for further review:
- An article from Mashable – Google Trekker Program describes how Bucks County in Pennsylvania utilized this program
- An example of the Trekker device being used by university students to capture hiking, paddling and cycling points of interest in and around Spokane
- A Google Maps blog post further explaining the program
- This YouTube video provides an excellent overview
As mentioned, these images can be used in:
If you are interested in taking advantage of this program, I suggest first laying out the framework for its use. For example, create a list of the points of interest within the geographic area you want to cover. Then making sure you have people in place willing to learn the use of the device and who are capable of carrying it around. (It weighs 40 or 50 pounds) There are of course other details that need to be worked out.
It should be noted that there is another variation of this program. That being the Special Collections request a photo shoot. As I understand this program, it differs in that Google is the one doing the “leg work.” But in addition, it’s oriented to capturing images of well-known public places rather than more general points of interest.
If you have any questions, or don’t believe your organization can effectively manage applying and taking advantage of this program, please contact me.