Google Maps goes off-road with the Street View Trike

Taronga Zoo is the first location in Australia to be mapped with the Google Street View Trike

The Google Street View Trike at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

The Google Street View Trike at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

Google today announced the latest addition to Google Maps in the form of the first Street View Trike in the Southern Hemisphere. The trike will capture off-road locations not accessible via cars.

The Google Street View Trike made its debut at Sydney's Taronga Zoo, capturing images of the wildlife and the backdrop of Sydney Harbour. It will allow the company to capture images in many pedestrian-only tracks, lanes and, in some cases, privately owned destinations.

"The Street View Trike will help us to create an even more comprehensive virtual atlas of Australia," said Raul Vera, Google Australia engineering manager. "We're excited that Taronga is among the first zoos in the world to share their environments online."

The Google Street View Trike was designed by Dan Ratner, a senior mechanical engineer for Google in the US. "I began thinking about building a bicycle-based Street View system after realising how many interesting places around the world, ranging from historic landmarks to beautiful trails to shopping districts, aren't accessible by car," said Ratner.

As part of the Street View Trike's introduction to Australia, Google is also running an online poll that lets Australians suggest where they would like the Trike to explore.

Google has created four categories including city life, cultural areas, natural wonders and hidden gems. Location ideas can be submitted online at www.google.com.au/trike. The poll closes on 8 February.

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Ross Catanzariti

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