Google Trek comes to campus

May 28th, 2014 | By | Category: 2014, Campus News, Issue, May 22

Views from UNL sidewalks and pathways are on the way to being displayed in more detail on Google Maps.

On April 30 and May 1, Google contractor Lucas Marshall walked both City and East campuses wearing a specialized Google Trekker backpack. The device, which weighs about 40 pounds, contains 15 cameras that take a series of photos roughly every three seconds. The photos will be stitched together to create a virtual tour of campus that will be accessible via Google Maps in the near future.

The Trekker device is an extension of Google’s Street View program, which used a similar camera that captures images from atop a car. Trekker is expanding areas around the world that can be explored via Google Maps.

The program includes a variety of scenic treks, including the Great Barrier Reef, Kennedy Space Center and Venice, Italy. It recently expanded into other areas, including college campuses.

“When UNL was selected as a target candidate for the Google Treks program, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Andy Schadwinkel, marketing director for University Communications. “So many people use Google Maps that having a presence there will be helpful to anyone who wants to explore UNL and get a feel of our campus.”

Schadwinkel worked as UNL’s liaison with Google.

Andrew Swenson, director of marketing and communications for Admissions, said that while there are no definite plans to integrate the Google Trek into UNL admissions campaigns, it has the potential to be a useful tool to showcase UNL to prospective students.

“We want every prospective student to come to campus and experience UNL first hand, but we know that’s not always possible,” Swenson said. “Google Trek is a way to expand access to campus. It’s a technology that will showcase what UNL looks like physically and will offer prospective students another way to explore campus.”

Along with exterior views of campus buildings, Marshall planned to record inside Memorial Stadium at field and various seating levels. If time allows, the project may also include other athletic venues, including Hawks Field at Haymarket Park.

“Having Memorial Stadium, especially the new East Stadium, available on Google Maps is going to be phenomenal,” said Kelly Mosier, director of digital communications for athletics. “We hear all the time how opposing teams or visitors come to campus with a preconceived notion of what Lincoln is like and they walk away amazed by our facilities, campus and city.

“This Google Treks project is just another opportunity to show off how great our facilities are here, both in athletics and across campus.”

Google Treks typically take a few months before they are available.

Other campuses available in Google’s Street View series include Northwestern University, Stanford, University of Colorado and Cornell University.

Troy Fedderson | University Communications

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