Would Google Riverview help or hinder canoe trippers?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Google Streetview Bike

In the news recently, I was reading about Googles new plan to start to map out UK bike and footpaths and add the images into their highly successful Streetview maps. They will be using a specially designed three-wheel bicycle that houses a 360 degree camera and onboard image capturing computer.

This got me thinking about what would happen if this technology was adapted to the paddling world. What if somebody took a camera and added it to a canoe or sea kayak? It could be used to map out some of historic canoe roots throughout North America. Imagine sitting at your desk at work and dropping in and going for a quick virtual paddle before rushing off to your 3pm meeting?

The technology is already out there to make it happen but do you think that it would help or hinder things if a system was rolled out?

Nahanni River - Viginia Falls - Photo Credit: Flickr - NileguideOn one hand, like good fishing spots, paddlers go to the wilderness to get away from our busy world and mainly, people. If we opened up the routes on the internet it would undoubtedly make those wilderness areas more popular and thus more crowded.

Also, there is something cool about going out on a canoe trip and not knowing what you will see around the bend. Half the fun is discovering.

But on the other hand, the more people learn how beautiful it is out there, than they are more likely to appreciate it and possibility protect it for future uses.

For example, image being able to go in an paddle along the famous Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories and its spectacular Virginia Falls.I think that it could be an awesome resource for armchair paddlers everywhere. I just wouldn't want to be the guy who gets the job portaging that monster camera from lake to lake!

On a slightly different but at the same time similar note (is that possible), I just got a copy of the latest Adventure Kayak magazine in the mail. Inside I found an interview of me by Conor Mihell. We discussed a bunch of different things but it mainly centered in on the benefits of the latest version of Google Earth for initial trip planning. In the article, Conor touts me as the Google Earth expert which I am clearly not. Here is my hidden secret. I just mash some keys and click the mouse and somehow my apartment building shows up on the computer. I'm no expert, Google gets all the credit for developing a piece of software that's dead simple to use!

Photo Credits:
Google bike: Google
Virginia Falls: Flickr - Nileguide

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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