When Seattle IT’s Shelly Smith got lost on her way to a meeting in Magnuson Park, she pulled out her phone’s navigation app and found there was not enough information to guide her to where she needed to be. She’d heard of Google advertising their Trekker cameras and thought it might be a good way to map out the park.
“It was also about accessibility, public safety, and providing the technology to the public for their benefit,” said Smith.
Teams of two from Seattle Parks and Seattle IT mounted 50-pound top-heavy camera packs provided by Google and walked several trails, paths, and parkways in the Puget Sound. The result is a series of virtual park tours that will give potential visitors a 360-degree view of each of the places trekkers visited.
“I think it’s great that people can now see parks before they go,” said Seattle IT’s Beth Somerfield. “It also gives them something to reference on their phone if they get lost in the woods.”
More than a dozen local parks including Kuboto Garden and Woodland Park Rose Garden can now be taken in with the click of a mouse. Smith says the public was very responsive to the teams as they headed out with the Google cameras.
“We looked like rockets that were going into outer space,” said Smith. “But people loved it. They stopped and posed for photos with us.”
No plans to use the cameras in the future, but Smith sees this as a huge potential for future use. Seattle IT trekkers included Shelly Smith and Beth Somerfield, part of the Digital Services team as well as Corinne Erly and Amie Thao.
More virtual tours:
Lake Union Park
Martha Washington Park
Seattle Japanese Garden
Washington Park Arboretum