Google partners with Pure Michigan, putting travel destinations on the map

Posted at 4:20 PM, Mar 23, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Google is putting Michigan more on the map, literally.

Pure Michigan partnered with Google Maps’ invitation-only Trekker Program. Using loaned Google Trekkers, Pure Michigan employees hiked 40 different iconic Michigan landmarks. As of Monday, Google posted 44,000, 360-degree picturesof Michigan’s landmarks to Google Maps’ street view.

The Google Trekker is essential a 40-pound backpack with 15, each 5 megapixels, which snap panoramic pictures every 2.5 seconds. The Trekker takes a viewer places cars cannot go.

Michigan is the first state in the Midwest to partner with Google, and the third state, following Hawaii and Florida, in a tourism initiative.

“The experience is what you, if you were out walking, would experience,” said Steve Silverman, Google Maps Street View Program Manager. “And that’s the whole point of this: this is a street view car; we took 300 pounds and make it to about 45 pounds. We made it so you can see these amazing places.”

The Trekkers documented Michigan travel destinationslike Sleeping Bear Dunes, as well as places travelers may not get to see, like the top of the Mackinac Bridge. Ryan Gajewski told FOX 17 he climbed to the top of a tower of the Mackinac Bridge with a Trekker, and said it takes imagery where most people may not be able to go.

“It’s like you’re so high up, if you just look straight ahead, it’s like you’re just in an airplane, it’s not weird, but if you look down, yeah, it makes your palms sweaty a little bit,” said Gajewski.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley announced the partnership Monday morning, and said this will inspire people to visit Michigan.

“Tourism is obviously what we’re talking about today, but I think it’s a lot bigger than that: this is our culture, this is our heritage, this is who we are at its core, and it just makes so much sense to put these two powerful brands together,” said Calley.

Pure Michigan employees used this Trekker and others for six weeks, and said the budget cost only their employees’ time.