Florida Beaches Google-Style

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Associated Press Release

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Trekkers are completing the last mile of their Google Maps project to capture 360-degree images of Florida's 825 miles of beaches.

Local and state tourism officials will greet the trekkers on Wednesday at South Pointe Park in Miami Beach.

Visit Florida, the state's tourism and marketing arm, said the journey began in July. Two-person Visit Florida teams were trained by Google Map experts to capture the images. The teams walked about 50 miles of beach each week with a backpack that has a camera system on top. The camera has 15 lenses, angled in different directions, so it can capture a complete picture of a location. The images are then stitched together into a 360-degree panoramic photo.

Officials say the images will be viewable on Google Maps next year.

By: Mike Vasilinda
November 8, 2013

Want to know what a beach on the other side of Florida looks like? You’ll soon be able to get a 360 degree view courtesy the state’s tourism marketing agency. Visit Florida has partnered with Google to visually map more than eight hundred miles of Florida beaches.

It began in the Panhandle. “Florida-Alabama state line and these are our first steps,” says Chris Officer, Trekker.

Two teams of two people have been walking Florida’s beaches since mid July. On their backs a 40 pound 360 degree camera pack. It’s the state’s latest effort to lure more people to the state. “So it’s a great opportunity to give… wet people’s appetite and help-let them virtually explore the Florida beaches,” says Will Seccombe, Visit Florida Director.

Along their way the trekkers, as they are called, were as much a tourist attraction as the beaches they walked.

Florida had ninety one and a half million tourists last year. The goal is one hundred million and marketers think the beach views will be one more tool to reach their goal. “It’s not just a picture. You want to show people what, you know, what their beach looks like and what their walk is going to be like in the morning or the sunset that afternoon,” says Seccombe.

The trekkers have been covering about 50 miles a week, their journey hasn’t been without, well surprises. “[What do you do with nude beaches?] Well, our Visit Florida team ran across a couple of those beaches on their trek through the state. They will be blurred out just like the licenses plates on street cam for Google,” says Will Seccombe.

The journey finishes next week on South Beach, the pictures go live early next year.

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