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Iconic Wellington locations star on Google’s Street View platform

7 Nov 2018

Potential visitors and residents alike can now use Google to ogle some of Wellington’s most beautiful and popular tourist destinations.

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WREDA was offered use of the Google Street View Trekker – a wearable backpack outfitted with 360-degree cameras designed for locations accessible only by foot.

The Trekker weighs 18 kilograms and includes 15 lenses that take photos every 2.5 seconds.

It led to the creation of 360-degree virtual tours of 11 Wellington locations: from Zealandia; the Weta Cave and Cuba St; to Wellington Zoo; the Wellington Cable Car; and Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

The virtual tours can be viewed on Google Maps by using the yellow ‘Pegman’ in the bottom right corner to navigate.

WREDA’s Destination and Attraction General Manager David Perks says the decision to use the virtual magic of Google Street Views to show Wellington to the world was an easy one.

“The idea of partnering with a technology giant like Google, to utilise its skills and enormous international reach to showcase the best of Wellington, didn’t take too much consideration.

“We’re delighted with the virtual tour results and doubly-delighted that we got to do it for free. That’s a win-win for the city.”

Google New Zealand Special Collect Operations Lead Matthew Jenke says by having WREDA capture this imagery of Wellington, it could potentially boost awareness of the region as a tourist destination as the virtual tours are available online in almost every country in the world.

“Giving people a taste through Google Street View is a brilliant way to capture their imagination and encourage them to explore further and travel to Wellington by giving them a virtual close up of iconic Wellington sites.”

Ryan Wilmshurst says he and his WREDA colleagues Leanne Smith and Sue Zhu received specialist training from Google experts on how to operate the Google Trekker – locally nicknamed Lucy – and stay safe while doing it. He says the filming ended up being fun and challenging.

“It was exciting to gain access to some of Wellington’s best loved locations to showcase them to the world. Along the way we had to deal with a raft of questions from locals who were seriously curious about Lucy, as well as managing troublesome weather forecasts for outdoor filming.”