16 January 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Fáilte Ireland has borrowed Google technology to document some of the tourism beauty spots in Ireland’s Ancient East, which haven’t yet been captured by Google Street View, including parts of Cork such as The Jameson Experience; Cobh Heritage Centre; Titanic Experience; Camden Fort Meagher; and St Mary’s Collegiate Church, Raleigh Quarter, Youghal.
The Google Trekker is being accessed through Google’s ‘Trekker Loan Programme’ and has been used over the last number of months to capture Street View imagery in remote places where the car can’t go. Over the last several weeks, Fáilte Ireland has been capturing footage of many places people have not been able to see on Google Streetview and will be literally putting some of Ireland’s Ancient East’s most beautiful sights on the map.
The Trekker is a wearable backpack, with a camera system on top, designed by Google. The Trekker can be walked through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot, and automatically gathers images as it goes. Starting late last year, the Google Trekker has already captured sights including Clonmacnoise, and Dunbrody Abbey & Visitor Centre as well as other significant destinations such as The Hill of Tara, The Rock of Cashel and Glendalough Visitor Centre.
Speaking about the benefit of employing the Google Trekker along Ireland’s Ancient East, Paul Keeley, Director of Business Development, Fáilte Ireland emphasised:
“Six out of ten visitors to Ireland last year cited the internet as an influence when choosing the country as a destination. Three quarters of visitors told us that they use the internet to plan their itinerary here before arriving. The use of Google Trekker is therefore a welcome addition to Fáilte Ireland’s significant engagement with digital and social media to promote Ireland.
”When finally captured and uploaded, we hope that millions worldwide get to explore narrow streets of medieval towns, the grounds of stately homes and iconic attractions in Ireland’s East and South through Google street view. We also hope that these images inspire many viewers to subsequently make the crucial decision to come over here to see the real thing.”
Fáilte Ireland is committing in excess of €18m to further developing Ireland’s Ancient East in 2016, including capital investment in visitor experiences, funding festivals and events to support the brand, sales platforms for local businesses, branded orientation signage, a dedicated website as well as marketing at home and abroad.
The Trekker is the newest piece of equipment in Google’s fleet of Street View technologies including the Car, Trike, Snowmobile and others. To learn more about these, you can click here. Commenting on the advantages this technology can bring to tourism, Laurian Clemence, Communications Manager with Google, said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with Fáilte Ireland in order to bring Street View imagery to an area of the world that is rich in heritage and known for its outstanding natural beauty; which anyone across the world will be able to access directly from their smartphones or computer via Google Maps, and encourage many to visit.”
The specialised camera has also captured tourism experiences in Dublin and some of the breath-taking scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way last year.
The footage captured over the next few weeks will be processed by Google and it is hoped to be available in the coming months – giving people all over the world an even better view of what Ireland has to offer in terms of walks and landscapes.