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Published on : Monday, July 13, 2015
Anyone around the world will soon be able to experience the wonders of the Territory’s most iconic landmarks first hand from their computer screens, tablet or mobile thanks to a partnership between the Northern Territory Government and Google.
Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Adam Giles said Tourism NT had partnered with Google to map popular Northern Territory tourist destinations with the website’s Google Maps Street View technology.
“Tourism NT and Parks and Wildlife Commission NT staff have been on the ground in recent weeks using the Google Trekker camera, taking panoramic photos as they walk through the Territory’s famous and remote natural landmarks,” he said.
“This is an exciting opportunity to showcase some of the Territory’s most spectacular natural attractions like Uluru, Ubirr lookout in Kakadu, nature’s own infinity pool at Gunlom Falls, The Rim Walk at Watarrka National Park, the Larapinta Trail and Litchfield Park’s Wangi falls.
“The imagery captured will be published on Google Maps next year – allowing tourists around the world to take a virtual trip to the Territory online and better plan a future holiday here.
“Using Google’s cutting edge Street View technology is a new and innovative way we are promoting the Northern Territory and our magnificent regions to the rest of the world.
“It’s all part of the Country Liberals Government’s plan to drive the development of North Australia and build a $2.2 billion visitor economy by 2020.”
The Street View Trekker is Google’s newest Street View camera platform and features a wearable backpack with a camera system on top. The camera has 15 lenses, each pointed in a different direction to create a 360-degree panoramic view.
Google Trekker footage allows viewers to go on a personalised virtual trek with the viewer deciding which path to take and which direction to look.
Google Maps Australia and New Zealand Product Manager Andrew Foster said by loaning Street View Trekker to organisations like Tourism NT, they were able to share Australia’s diverse landscapes with the world.
“Whether you’re planning your next adventure through Kakadu or simply a digital explorer relaxing on your own couch, you’ll soon be able to take a virtual trip to some of the Northern Territory’s most iconic landmarks on Google Maps,” Mr Foster said.
Tourism NT employee Chris Frankenfeld, who helped travel the Territory with the Google Trekker, said the equipment weighed about 18kgs and had tested his endurance in the warm weather.
“The hardest part was traversing steep terrain such as Gunlom Falls and Wangi as the Google Trekker should be kept upright at all times,” Mr Frankenfeld said.
“Some of the step ups were tricky and you have to keep in mind not to get yourself in the frame, such as when reaching out to grab hold of a tree.”
The Google Trekker project follows the successful launch of Tourism NT’s innovative Virtual Journeys website, which allows travel agents to experience the Northern Territory through over 200 online videos filmed using first person perspective technology.