Wait, How did Google Map Out the Car-Free Mackinac Island?
Have you ever wondered how Google Maps, famous for driving around a little car with a camera to create street views of towns and cities, was able to map out Mackinac Island?
Mackinac Island is famously car-free and I doubt they would suddenly make an exception for Google. And, they didn't.
So, how did they capture the clear street images you can now find on Google Maps? With a backpack.
Back in 2015, an agreement was made between Google and Travel Michigan wherein volunteers with Travel Michigan were loaned special equipment from Google to make this task doable.
The Trekker, which looks like an overcomplicated and oversized backpack, uses the same kind of camera that's usually attached to the top of Google cars. With it, the one carrying the backpack can photograph isolated areas that cars may not have access to. Mackinac Island, for example.
Take a look at how it works:
While it does look a bit cumbersome (weighing 40 lbs), it clearly works as you can now see major parts of Mackinac Island without ever leaving your couch. Like Fort Holmes, for example:
Or the quaint main street:
It took volunteers four weeks to snap photos of the island, which is about 8 miles in circumference. With a pack weighing 40 lbs, hopefully, they took turns carrying it.
What was the point of Google mapping the island? Tourism, of course.
Mackinac Island is a stunning place to visit. But, I always like to scope out a place before I spend money to travel there. And, I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
Once you visit, though, you may be tempted to buy a home on Mackinac Island. But, be ready to spend a pretty penny if you do...