Google made a lot of news not too long ago when it brought a portable version of its Street View camera system on a hike into the Grand Canyon. What I didn’t know is that same system would be joining us in Antarctica!
Our trip was joined by a number of researchers working on penguin research for Oceanites including Ron Naveen who had written the guide book to the Antarctic Peninsula I was carrying with me – didn’t expect to be having dinner with the author during my trip, that was a real treat!
Some of the researchers including Ron left us in Antarctica part way into the trip, but two, Dr. Heather Lynch and Dr. Michelle LaRue were not only with us for the entire trip, but were bringing with them Street View cameras from Google.
Heather who you see pictured above carried a portable camera system around Antarctica as she did penguin counts and the different penguin colonies. Her ongoing research and permits will allow viewers access to areas within the penguin colonies that the typical visitor isn’t allowed to access. She also carried the system on hikes like the one we did from Baily Head on Deception Island. This hike begins at Baily Head and continues past a huge Chinstrap Penguin colony before going up and over the volcano rim and down to Whaler’s Bay. It will be fun to relive these places on Google – and for many people, this may be as close to a hike in Antarctica is they will ever get. It was my understanding that Heather was carrying the same pack that was used in the Grand Canyon.
Michele was using a different system, it was a tripod mounted array of Canon 7D’s with fish-eye lenses that she would set up at different historical sites. I thought the 7D instead of the Canon 5D III or II was an interesting choice.
Watch for the final results on Google Earth later this year.
As a side note, it was wonderful having Heather and Michelle on board the vessel because they were so willing to share their vast knowledge of penguins. Both have spent a great deal of time in Antarctica over the years and had many fascinating stories. You may have seen Michelle not too long ago being interviewed by Brian Williams on NBC nightly news – her recent discoveries of some previously undiscovered Emperor Penguin colonies brought her a fair amount of attention.
Below is Heather carrying the Street View cameras in a colony of Gentoo Penguins on Cuverville Island.