Tuam Herald photographer Ray Ryan was on hand on Inisbofin last week to recored the Google Trekker in action.
During what was one of the worst days of the year, let alone the summer, with torrential rain and flooding on mainland Galway, the skies over Inisbofin parted to bask Ray and Google Trekker operator Michael Fitzsimons of Bord Fáilte in brilliant sunshine and present them with the views of the Connemara and the Twelve Pins seen in our photo.
Bord Fáilte have borrowed the trekker for three months to record some of Ireland’s most stunning scenery—much of it along the Atlantic coast.
The idea is to capture some of the more remote beauty spots which are not available on Google’s Street View as their car-camera can’t go there.
Michael Fitzsimons, Client Services Officer with Fáilte Ireland, told The Herald he and his team are working the Wild Atlantic Way. The Google pack is quite heavy, 21kg, so they share the load between them.
His back got a rest when he reached the Westport and the Western Greenway as the camera could be mounted on a quad bike, but it’s back to shank’s mare for Sligo and Donegal before they head off to the East of the country.
The Trekker is a wearable backpack, with a camera system on top, designed by Google. The Trekker can be walked through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot, and automatically gathers images as it goes.
Starting along the Wild Atlantic Way, Michael and his Fáilte Ireland crew, captured sights such as islands like Inisbofin, Inistur, Achill, and Dun Aengus on Inis Mór as well as other significant destinations like Croagh Patrick.
Speaking about the benefit of employing the Google Trekker, Daragh Anglim, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Digital said: “Six out of ten visitors to Ireland last year cited the internet as an influence when choosing the country as a destination. Three quarters of visitors told us that they use the internet to plan their itinerary here before arriving. The use of Google Trekker is therefore a welcome addition to Fáilte Ireland’s significant engagement with digital and social media to promote Ireland.”
The footage captured over the next few weeks will be processed by Google and made available in early 2016, giving people all over the world an even better view of what Ireland has to offer in terms of walks and landscapes.