I have always seen photography as a mapping. But photography with these Google cameras is taking photography and the whole debate around it to another level . 15 lenses shooting at 2.5 frames per second and controlled by a handheld phone is taking photography into dimensions far beyond the flat surface that photos have normally been about.
And the fact that the Trekker is only taken out on sunny days and shows, like a sundial, just the sunny hours is an echo of what most photography shows and what most people want to see.
The 75-megapixel camera is mounted in an aluminum baffle, resembling a massive soccer ball, and with the rig on a guy's back, you can get close enough to look into one of the 15 lenses that capture a brisk 2.5 frames per second. The lenses are bespoke, like almost everything on the trekker, and specifically designed to reduce flare from the sun. The whole system is controlled by an Android phone, which monitors the navigational system and allows the user to look at photos from the camera as they're being taken.
The removable hard drive and eight-hour rechargable batteries are protected by a door with a waterproof O-ring seal. The Trekker can be submerged for 10 minutes under one meter of water and withstand temperatures ranging from -15 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Google has created the Trekker as a tool whose full utility isn’t yet known. The team says they’d like to form as many partnerships as possible all over the globe. This year, Google teamed up withCatlin Seaview Survey to design a modified panoramic rig that could be used underwater to help monitor coral reefs. There's also potential for the maps to assist in search and rescue, identifying areas where a lost party might have made a wrong turn or run into trouble.
She's hoping that visitors won't rely on being able to use Street View to help them navigate on trail. Cell phone reception drops off dramatically as you dip below the rim. The Trekker is also only dispatched on good weather days, to prevent precipitation from spoiling the picture. As a result, Street View is likely to show more bluebird days and won't necessarily be representative of actual conditions on the trail.