Google Street View Features California National Parks

Want to see Redwood National Park but don’t have the time or money to make the trip? How about Yosemite or Death Valley? Thanks to the graciously, life-improving, expanding Internet, you can now take a stroll through five California national parks right on Google Street View. The Official Google Blog outlines this new step. While seeing these monumental landscapes in person cannot be replicated online, there is something especially majestic about gazing through the Redwoods on your Street View. Perhaps you’ll like the view enough to make the actual trip one day.

Visit the Tall Trees Grove in Redwood National Park, California

Google Street View Helps Visualize Cool Summer Attractions

summer
As summer blazes on, travelers are looking for cool places to go. A quick escape from summer heat to a water park, beach or lake might be just what they have in mind too. But how about a look first? Google Street View can give us a panoramic view from positions along many streets in the world, including some major summer attractions.

A little warm where you are today? Click on one of these featured attractions for a taste of coolness and summer fun ahead.

Adventure Island is a water park located northeast of Tampa, Florida, across the street from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, featuring 30 acres of water rides, dining and other attractions.

Discovery Cove is a theme park in Greater Orlando, Florida. Guests can interact with a variety of marine animals, most notably bottlenose dolphins. The park is located adjacent to sister parks SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica. In addition to swimming with dolphins, Discovery Cove guests can interact with exotic birds, tropical fish, rays and land mammals.

Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier located at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California, and home to Pacific Park and a family amusement park with a large Ferris wheel.

SeaWorld Orlando
is a theme park, and marine-life based zoological park, near Orlando, Florida, that when combined with its neighbor Discovery Cove and the Aquatica waterpark, it forms a larger entertainment complex devoted to Earth’s oceans and the array of life that inhabits them.

Google Street View was introduced in the United States but can now be seen in 48 countries around the world.

See more Google summer attractions in the U.S. through Street View imagery, and make plans to cool off today.

Wet and Wild in De Palm Island Aruba

[Flickr photo by matheuslotero]

Explore the Amazon with Google Street View

The Amazon River, now available on Google Street ViewYesterday, in honor of World Forest Day, Google rolled out a new addition to their popular Street View application. The Internet search giant updated the service with imagery and data from the Amazon River, giving would-be explorers the opportunity to travel along that famous waterway without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.

According to the official Google Blog members of the Street View team from both the U.S. and Brazil traveled to the Amazon Basin back in August in order to collect the thousands of images necessary for its inclusion into the system. That team worked closely with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental conservation in the Amazon and the improvement of the quality of life for those living there. All told, they collected more than 50,000 still images, which were digitally stitched together to create the 360-degree panoramic views that are the hallmark of Street View.

The Amazon River is truly one of the great natural wonders of our planet. It stretches for more than 6400 kilometers (4000 miles) in length and at its widest points it can be as much as 48 kilometers (30 miles) in width. It is so massive in scope that it is estimated that approximately 1/6 of the world’s fresh water is contained in this one river alone making it the lifeblood of the Amazon Rainforest that surrounds it. That dense forest is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

I had the unique opportunity to visit the Amazon a few years back and found it to be a spectacular destination. The dense forests, diverse wildlife and miles of water are amazing to behold. Most travelers will never have the opportunity to visit the place for themselves, however, which makes the river’s inclusion in Street View all the better.


Nature Valley Trail View is ‘street view’ for national parks

Yellowstone National ParkEarlier this week, Nature Valley launched a fun new website that delivers a Google Street View-like experience for hiking trails in some of America’s most popular and iconic national parks. Dubbed Nature Valley Trail View, the new site allows hikers to explore over 300 miles of trail directly from their browser.

Much like its counter-part from Google, Trail View actually puts us on the ground and gives us a 360-degree view of the surroundings as we take a virtual hike through the wilderness. It also offers information about the trail that is currently being displayed, including: its length, level of difficulty and important points of interest along the way. This makes it a great tool for scouting potential hikes in the national parks before we go while also providing insights into what to expect when we’re actually out on the hike.

At the moment, Trail View features three of the more popular and famous national parks – Grand Canyon, Great Smokey Mountains, and Yellowstone. The video below gives us a glimpse at the technology that has gone into creating the new website, which is just the latest initiative from Nature Valley, a company that has a long history of supporting the national parks in a variety of important ways.

Enjoy the video then go take a virtual hike.


Globe Genie magically transports you around the world

Ever had the feeling while traveling that you’d stumbled across something truly extraordinary? A beautiful unknown view or place that wasn’t in your guidebook and only you discovered? That’s how you’ll probably feel after using Globe Genie, a nifty project that lets you randomly “teleport” around the world using Google’s Street View feature.

What is Globe Genie exactly? It’s a project created by MIT grad student Joe McMichael. McMichael took the same software code that powers Google Street View and randomized it. Instead of letting you search for the street view of a place you already know, Globe Genie shows you a random view based on a list of continents chosen from a menu on the right. Choose where you want to “go,” and hit the “teleport” button, and suddenly you’re standing in a farm field in Hokkaido, Japan. Click teleport again. You’re along the coast in Marseille, France. Once again. A tree-lined highway in Mississippi. In other words, Globe Genie lets you experience the thrill of traveling to a new place without ever leaving your desk.

The problem with looking at photos and video of far-off destinations is they are on some level, predictable. You already have an image in your mind of the Eiffel Tower or a beach in Thailand before you get there. What makes Globe Genie truly addictive is that element of randomness – you literally have no idea where you might end up next. Combined with a truly massive database of places and you have a very interesting idea on your hands. Can looking at a computer replace a truly amazing trip? No way. But projects like Globe Genie are proving incredibly addictive for armchair travelers everywhere.

[Via Metafilter]