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Google Maps gets slope view in time for the Winter Olympics

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February 10, 2010

The Google snowmobile captures some images from Whistler

The Google snowmobile captures some images from Whistler

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Google has ripped the camera rig off one of its Street View cars and slung it on a snowmobile to bring slope view to Google Maps. Now web skiers will be able to experience some of the runs the world’s best skiers will be racing down when the Winter Olympics kicks off this week. The slope-level imagery complements new aerial imagery of the Vancouver-Whistler area to give sports fans a different perspective of competition venues and courses.

Street View Senior Mechanical Engineer, Dan Ratner, along with a few Street View teammates came up with the idea to bring Street View to the slopes just a few months ago. Then over the course of a few weekends they fashioned the Street View snowmobile using extra pieces for Street View cars, some 2x4s, some duct tape, and a lot of extra hard drives (keeping them running properly in the freezing conditions was one of their major concerns).

After getting an enthusiastic go ahead from the authorities at Whistler Blackcomb Mountains and Whistler Resort Municipality the snowmobile captured images along the site of the men’s alpine skiing event, the Dave Murray Downhill, the view from the 7th Heaven Chairlift on Blackcomb, and the panoramic views from the peak of Whistler, just to name a few. And the snowmobile wasn’t the only vehicle Google put on active duty. A trike was also used to gather images of Whistler Village and Whistler Creekside at the mountains’ bases.

Armchair skiers can access the new imagery in Google Maps.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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