Nelson's mountainbiking trails get Google Streetview treatment

Nelson Mountain Bike Club has been working with Google to be the first MTB club in New Zealand to 'streetview' their ...
Ben Pointer

Nelson Mountain Bike Club has been working with Google to be the first MTB club in New Zealand to 'streetview' their trails so they can be flown through in Google Maps.

Google streetview is heading for the hills as the Nelson Mountain Bike Club treads new ground in showcasing the region's riding and walking tracks.   

NMTBC secretary Paul Jennings said the club had been in discussions with Google in recent weeks to use one of its state-of-the-art digital geo-mapping cameras to scan the 100km trail network. 

"They've not done many mountain bike trails in New Zealand before so it's kind of a first for them."

Jennings said the mapping offered another dimension to mountainbiking in Nelson in terms of extending its global reach, giving potential riders a better idea of what to expect when they arrive.

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The backpacked equipment weighs about 20kg, including the main unit and  a couple of long-life batteries. 

Nelson Mountain Bike Club members have already captured  half of Nelson's Codgers Mountain Bike Park.
BRADEN FASTIER

Nelson Mountain Bike Club members have already captured half of Nelson's Codgers Mountain Bike Park.

On top are 15 cameras pointing in fixed directions which capture   a constant stream of high-defintion images. The footage is then sent back to Google for editing before going up online in a few weeks time. .

Jennings said there were a lot of finer points to consider in the filming process, such as ensuring cameras are kept clean and held in a steady vertical position. The difficulty of capturing off-road images also meant the initial plan to capture the footage using an e-bike had to be rethought, with the entire process is being completed on foot instead.

"There's a right way to use it and I think now we've gone through that learning phase with them it'll be a lot easier to roll it out." 

The finished product will provide a streetview fly-through of the trails network on Google Maps, allowing viewers to access 360-degree perspective of a particular point along the trails. 

Thanks to some weekend sessions by club members and the work of trails manager Ben Pointer, the club has already tracked half of Codgers and parts of the Dun Mountain trail.

However, steeper and hard-to-access areas within the network were unlikely to be filmed.

Jennings said the project would be completed over several stages in the coming months, although he was keen to make use of Nelson's winter vistas.

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"It shouldn't do Nelson tourism any harm to see beautiful crisp views across the bay - if anything it's better than summer because theres no heat haze so you can see a long distance from the mountain."

 

 

 - Stuff

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