TOC announces new Hawaii virtual tours on Google maps

(News release issued by The Outdoor Circle)

Release Date: 5/10/2018

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toc google map virtual tour

HONOLULU, May 10, 2018 - New virtual tours of scenic Hawaii sites captured by The Outdoor Circle (TOC) are now available to worldwide audiences on Google maps. Since last summer while using the Google Trekker device, TOC has been visually mapping various iconic locations known for their rugged natural beauty, historic/cultural significance and other special qualities.

“This is one of the most innovative programs that The Outdoor Circle has worked on in its 105 year history and we were delighted to work with Google to collaborate on this. The project allowed us to capture incredible highlights of Hawaii’s unique environmental and scenic locations across the islands and allows people the ability to visit many different spectacular locations virtually. The project also underscores the need to preserve and protect these beautiful green spaces highlighted by the trekker,” said Winston Welch, TOC’s executive director. “Our partnership with Google was made possible through a grant from the Hawaiian Electric Companies. TOC is grateful for the support of this project to further our organizational mission to advance protection of Hawaii’s unique natural and scenic beauty, advocate for responsible environmental stewardship, and promote sustainability in Hawaii.”

All of the images were captured by Myles Ritchie, TOC’s programs director, as well as TOC interns Ben Ritchie, Ireland Derby and Richard Jansen. Over seven months, they took turns carrying the 50-pound Google Trekker backpack across different Hawaii terrains, from lava flows to botanical garden trails and nature parks. The device uses 15 mounted cameras to shoot 360-degree imagery every 2.5 seconds. It is important to emphasize that the Trekker was not used at “secret” areas in order to preserve their current conditions and respect the wishes of those who live in these areas. In addition, all locations that were featured had the required permits/permission obtained prior to the data being collected.

At the end of last year, most of the raw image files were sent to Google which began the process of editing the images together and uploading to their maps feature.

For more information on this program, visit: https://www.outdoorcircle.org/the-greenleaf/google-trekker-program