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Google partners with Pure Michigan to map state by foot

March 23, 2015
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Google partners with Pure Michigan to map state by foot
A rep of the state walks on the porch at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island with a Google Street View Trekker camera system on his back. Courtesy Pure Michigan

While in Grand Rapids today, Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced a new partnership between Google and Pure Michigan that will showcase the state's most-iconic destinations across the globe.

Calley joined David West, VP at Travel Michigan, and Steve Silverman, from Google Maps, during the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which is being held in Grand Rapids through tomorrow, to unveil the Google Street View Trekker technology that makes Michigan sights accessible to people all around the world through street view in Google Maps.

Pure Michigan is a state-run brand and advertising campaign representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan.

Google partnership

Google’s partnership with Pure Michigan is the first statewide Trekker Loan partnership in the Midwest.

Introduced in 2012, Google’s Street View Trekker is a backpack system with a camera on top that’s worn by an operator who walks through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot — or in the case of some Michigan locations, by kayak. The imagery is automatically captured and stitched together to create the 360-degree panorama seen on Google Maps.

“We are always looking for innovative new ways to tell our stories to travelers and being one of the first state tourism offices in the U.S. to partner with Google through the Trekker Loan Program elevates the work we are doing to spread the word about 'Pure Michigan,'” Travel Michigan’s West said.

The Trekker images were captured last fall and unveiled for the first time today.

Members and volunteers on the Pure Michigan team and the Department of Natural Resources borrowed the Trekker and took more than 44,000 panoramic photos over the course of four weeks, capturing some of the “most-breathtaking scenes” around Michigan.

“This initiative combines our natural beauty with innovative technology in a way that really speaks to all that Michigan has to offer visitors, residents and businesses alike,” Calley said.

Michigan destinations

Using Google Street View Trekker technology, attractions such as Mackinac Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — not previously accessible on Google street view — are now shown with 360 degree, fully navigable imagery that will allow potential travelers to explore these destinations to “inspire and plan a visit to Michigan.”

A number of other scenic Michigan destinations can be explored with Google street view: the top of the Mackinac Bridge; Island Loop Route National Water Trail in St. Clair County; State Capitol building in Lansing; Ford Field; Detroit Riverwalk; Tahquamenon Falls State Park; Wagner Falls; Bond Falls; Silver Lake State Park and Sand Dunes; Palms Brook State Park; Brighton State Recreation Area; Pinckney State Recreation Area; Fort Gratiot Lighthouse; Ocqueoc Falls in Millersburg; Agate Falls in Trout Creek; and the Presque Isle River.

The Michigan sites join other natural wonders, including the Grand Canyon, Taj Mahal, Great Pyramids, Galapagos Islands and many more available via the street view feature of Google Maps.

Elevating Michigan

Calley noted the “Pure Michigan” advertising campaign has “elevated Michigan as a national travel destination.”

The partnership with Google will further elevate the state’s iconic destinations by making the images “globally accessible on Google Maps.”

"As part of the Michigan community, we hope that making this street view imagery available to people all over the world will encourage them to discover some of the state’s most beautiful and significant places, some of which are right in their backyards," Google’s Silverman said.


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