Google Trekker camera captures images of Happy Valley Forest

October 7, 2015   ·   0 Comments

There will soon be a new way to experience King’s Happy Valley Forest.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Google teamed up to capture the area in brilliant panoramic images destined for Google Street View.
The Google Trekker camera was taken along several kilometres of trail through the forest last week and soon the images will be coming to a computer screen. Happy Valley Forest on the Oak Ridges Moraine near King City is one of the area’s pride and joys.
The forest was chosen because it is one of the largest and most intact forests remaining on the moraine. The Happy Valley Forest is home to a number of rare birds, plants and salamanders, and it protects the headwaters of streams that flow south to Lake Ontario and north to Lake Simcoe.
Nature Conservancy of Canada staff will use a Google Trekker, a 50-pound (20-kilogram) backpack-mounted camera, to capture images of the forest and the rich diversity found there.
The Trekker is a green orb about the size of a soccer ball that contains 15 lenses. The orb is mounted on a mechanical stalk that protrudes above the wearer’s head. The Trekker snaps multiple images on 360 degrees every 2.5 seconds. Every image taken by the Google Trekker is assigned a GPS location.
Once uploaded to Google, the images will be knit together to create panoramic views of the route followed by the Trekker. Then the images and the route will be published in Google Maps, often with additional information to tell the story of the location. These images will allow Canadians and Google users around the world to explore some of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s most stunning and diverse landscapes, coast to coast.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has so far protected 629 acres (254 hectares) in the Happy Valley Forest, thanks to the generosity of numerous individuals, foundations, corporations and government partners. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the forest by hiking the Oak Ridges Trail, or by visiting the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Goldie Feldman Nature Reserve.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is borrowing the equipment this summer and fall to showcase six completely different habitat types and ecosystems. Most of the sites selected for this project offer the added dimension of trails or interpretive centres that Canadians are welcome to visit and explore.
NCC staff first took the Trekker camera to New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy in mid-August. Here they were able to capture images of thousands of migratory shorebirds flying over at Johnson’s Mills before these birds embarked upon their 72-hour non-stop flight to South America.
Google has provided the training and the Google Trekker equipment free of charge. The company will also pay for the transportation of the equipment from location to location. Copyright on all assets collected will belong to Google, who introduced the Google Trekker to help reach places inaccessible to its Street View vehicles, trikes, trolleys and snowmobiles.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. NCC has conserved over 180,000 acres (72,843 hectares) of land in Ontario.



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