The Grand Canyon Is Coming To Google Street View

By now we’ve all marveled at how Google Maps and its Street View option, allow us to easily explore the world around us. Not only is it possible to use the system to find a new restaurant down the street, but it also gives us the ability to visit places like the Amazon, Pompeii and the Great Barrier Reef without ever leaving home. Soon you’ll be able to add yet another natural wonder to that list, as the Internet search giant has announced that it will next turn its attention on the Grand Canyon.

Yesterday, Google announced that it was sending members of its mapping team, armed with its new Trekker camera system, into the canyon for the first time. They’ll explore the iconic and breathtaking landscape on foot, while the camera automatically captures high quality photos in 360-degree panoramas while they hike. Once the expedition is complete, the team will return home and upload their images, which will eventually be stitched together and displayed in Street View form online.

This week the maps team is concentrating on the stunning vistas of the South Rim as well as the popular Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail. If you happen to be in Grand Canyon National Park over the next few days and come across a group of hikers with oddly shaped backpacks, it’s probably just the Google gang going about their business. The rest of us will have to wait patiently for their photos to be added to the ever-growing Street View library.

On a side note, how cool would it be to get payed by Google to go backpacking for a few weeks? I’m sure this team is well outfitted for this adventure and it certainly beats spending long days in the office.

[Photo credit: Google]

The Grand Canyon Captured In Time-lapse

There is no doubt that the Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes on Earth, drawing in millions of visitors each year. But seldom has it been captured so spectacularly as it has in this time-lapse video. To create this short film, the photographers spent seven weeks in and around the canyon, shooting over 80,000 photos in the process. The results are hard to dispute. This is simply one of the best time-lapse videos I’ve ever seen.

Grand Canyon : Blink of Time” from GOTM Films on Vimeo.

Photo Of The Day: Horseshoe Bend

The very best travel photos should trigger two desires. First, they should inspire the viewer to want to travel to the place that is the subject of the image. And, second, they should instill in the viewer a curiosity about the art and craft of photography.

Today’s photo of the day satisfies both of these criteria. Oilfighter used his Canon 5D Mark II DSLR to photograph sunset at Horseshoe Bend, the famous spot within the Grand Canyon where the Colorado River bends. In his description of the photo, Oilfighter tells us a brief story of why he decided to photograph Horseshoe Bend on that day. Additionally, he provides info on the lens and filter he used, thereby giving a welcome photography lesson to accompany this marvelous shot.

Share your best travel images with us by adding them to the Gadling Flickr photo pool for a future Photo of the Day.

A US National Park Ranger Tells All

Memorial Day is fast approaching, kicking off the beginning of the busiest time for America’s national parks – the summer season. Budget Travel has just published some confessions from a national park ranger (stationed at the Grand Canyon, judging from his anecdotes). Think Americans are the most reverent about our national treasures? Think again. It’s more likely to be a foreigner who knows better than to ask where the bridge across the Grand Canyon is, or be genuinely interested in the history behind the parks. But if you show some real interest and respect, a park ranger is likely to help make your experience in the park even more memorable.

If you’re headed to a park this summer, you may want to check out the Park Advocate, the official blog of the National Parks Conservation Association. They post helpful tools for hikers, interesting lesser-known stories about the parks and other multimedia and news for visitors.

Read the full confessions at

[Photo courtesy Grand Canyon NPS‘ Flickr photostream.]

Video: Exploring The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is truly epic in scale. Not only does it stretch for more than 277 miles in length it is also as much at 18 miles wide at certain points and plummets to over a mile in depth as well. It is indeed one of the true natural wonders of our planet and attracts millions of visitors on an annual basis.

But what many of those visitors don’t know is that there are a series of smaller canyons that twist and wind their way across the region. Most of those side canyons have never been explored and even in the 21st century they remain mostly unmapped and unseen by man. Recently a group of explorers dropped into those twisty, narrow passages and filmed their adventure. The full documentary of their expedition will debut at the 5Point Film Festival in a few weeks time but the trailer for the film, entitled “Last of the Great Unknown,” can be viewed below. It gives us a glimpse into this amazing place and what these modern day explorers had to go through to plumb its depths.

Last of the Great Unknown – Trailer #1 from Dan Ransom on Vimeo.