Fáilte Ireland using Google Trekker to digitise Ireland’s coasts (video)

23 Sep 2015

The Google Trekker camera being used by Fáilte Ireland. Photo: Connor McKenna

With the help of the Google Trekker backpack, Fáilte Ireland is bringing Google Maps Street View to Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and historic east and we got to see it in action.

While many would be able to spot the Google Maps car travelling around the streets, few would be likely to recognise what the Google Trekker is.

Weighing nearly 20kg, the backpack-mounted camera system is Google’s efforts to photograph routes that cannot be recorded by the Google Maps car, such as mountain pathways and forests.

Last month, Fáilte Ireland announced that it had signed up to the Google Trekker programme to capture some of Ireland’s most visited and scenic locations, such as Inishbofin, Achill, the Blaskets and Dún Aengus on Inis Mór, as well as other significant destinations such as Sliabh Liag, Croagh Patrick and Mizen Head.

On Ireland’s east coast, however, recording is still underway and Siliconrepublic.com caught up with two of the Dublin team, Mark Rowlette and Colin Hindle, as they walked along the South Wall of Dublin’s docklands to see how the Google Trekker actually works.

Despite the wet weather, the pair were to walk the full 4km length of the South Wall, which at one point in time was one of the longest sea walls in the world and remains one of the longest in Europe.

No doubt to the relief of Mark and Colin, the South Wall is a flat stretch of concrete, which means the walk isn’t too hard on their backs but, having worn the backpack for just a brief while, you would certainly feel for those having to climb hills .

Perhaps most interesting was to see how the Google Trekker actually operates and some more details about its hardware, including that it can get eight hours of recording on a single charge.

Speaking at South Wall on the day, Mark said at the time that one of their next destinations would be Howth Hill, before continuing on their journey, which, both Mark and Colin said, is not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic