I've always been a big fan of Google's Street View technology. It's the amalgamation of the excellent Google Maps and photos that are taken and geo-tagged at various locations around the planet. The results are that we can explore a map from above then with a simple click, zoom down to street level to see exactly where it is we'll be traveling. It can be tremendously useful when visiting a place for the first time and it is often fun to explore an area right from your computer.
For some time now Google has been using the Street View tech to map some really cool locations. For instance, you can visit the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and even Everest Base Camp directly from your browser. But today, the Internet search giant has announced that by working with the U.S. National Park Service and Parks Canada, 44 national parks have been added to Street View as well, allowing us to take a virtual escape to those destinations even when we don't have time to actually go ourselves.
Some of the locations that have been added include Sequoia National Park, Joshua Tree and Mt. Rushmore. You can also pay a visit to such historical landmarks as the Alamo, the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall in Washington DC. If you're looking to head north of the border, check out Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in Canada's Banff National Park as well.
Of course, I'd never even begin to suggest that Street View is a viable option for going to visit these places for yourself. It is however, fun technology that allows you to scout ahead before you actually go in person. It is also a nice way to escape the office, even if for just a few minutes, during a particularly long and boring day and a nice reminder of how far we have come in terms of mapping technology. I hope Google continues to expand on these initiatives in the years ahead.
This story first appeared on The Adventure Blog.