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.