The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) and Google Maps recently announced a first-of-its-kind partnership that enables the HVCB to borrow the technology company’s Street View Trekker equipment to collect 360-degree images and visually showcase the Hawaiian Islands’ natural beauty. The initial phase of the project will focus on Hawaii’s most popular hiking trails.
“We are absolutely thrilled and honored to be selected as Google Maps’ first partner to borrow a Trekker, and to have the privilege of working with one of the world’s leading technology companies to enhance the way travelers can connect with the Hawaiian Islands,” said John Monahan, HVCB’s president and CEO, in a written release. “Maps and panoramic imagery serve an integral role in the vacation planning process. Incorporating this interactive and immersive technology on our gohawaii.com site once it’s processed and available online will deliver a powerful travel planning tool for potential Hawaii visitors across the globe.”
A team from Google Maps has been on Hawaii Island the past week introducing HVCB and HFT staff to the special Trekker equipment. The team has already practiced on trails from the Pololu Valley Lookout, Akaka Falls State Park, and inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as part of the training. The HFT team will officially begin collecting still images in July and they will eventually be added to and available on Google Maps later this year. The final list of featured trails will be disclosed publicly once filming has concluded.
Phase one on Hawaii Island is expected to be completed this fall. The Street View Trekker will then make its way to the other five main Hawaiian Islands – Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Lanai and Molokai. A timeline for these islands will be set at a future date.