Clare walking trails mapped on Google Street ViewTuesday 12 August 2014 16.41
Walkers and tourists can now explore dozens of kilometres of scenic walking trails in Co Clare, including the cliff-top walk above the Cliffs of Moher, without even taking a step.
Using one of Google Street View's Trekker packs, the Clare Local Development Company (CLDC) has captured off-road panoramic scenic images of six trails in the Banner County.
They have now been added to Google Street View, a product that allows users to see 360-degree images of locations that have been captured using specialised camera and GPS technology, and move along the path taken by the camera.
Google's Trekker packs are back packs that have one of these 360-degree panoramic cameras mounted on them - the same technology used by Google's well known Street View cars.
Because it is worn and carried, the Trekker pack can be used to capture Street View style imagery on rough and inhospitable terrain that cars cannot access.
Google has already used the technology to capture the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Last year, Google started a trial programme to lend Trekker packs out to organisations such as tourism boards, non-profit bodies, government agencies, universities or research groups, so that they could capture images for inclusion on Google Maps and Street View.
The offer was taken up by CLDC, which became the first organisation in Ireland to do so.
Over a period of three weeks, CLDC representatives wearing the pack walked 46km, along six different trails, capturing 21 hours or 1,260 minutes of footage.
The footage has since been rendered together and posted to Google Maps, where it can be view through Street View.
The walks include a 12km Atlantic coastal walk linking the towns of Liscannor to Doolin via the Cliffs of Moher, as well as the Lough Avalla Loop, the Ballycuggeran Loop, the O'Brien's Bridge trail, the Carran Loop and the Blackhead trail.
The project was assisted by local farmers who provided access to their land, Clare County Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Fáilte Ireland and Shannon Development.
"County Clare has arguably some of the best, and most varied, trails on offer of any county in Ireland," said Eoin Hogan, Rural Recreation Officer for Clare Local Development Company and Project Leader.
"Our motivation for getting involved in the Google Trekker Loan programme was to be able to showcase our stunning native landscape and inspire a wider audience to come and visit the county's trail for themselves."