American Rivers and Google Maps launch Colorado River Street View!


We are excited to announce the Colorado River is the focus of a new Google Maps Street View project launched today in partnership between American Rivers and Google Maps!

For the first time, you can explore 286 miles of the Colorado river and the iconic Grand Canyon in full 360-degree photo spheres. Cool trivia — this marks the first time Google Maps has used the Street View technology on a major whitewater river in the U.S.

The project brings renewed attention to the wonder and beauty of the Grand Canyon, as well as the challenges facing the Colorado River’s health.  American Rivers named the Colorado River America’s Most Endangered River in 2013 because of the threat of outdated water management, over-allocation and persistent drought.

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Supported by the outfitter Arizona River Runners, three of us from American Rivers joined Google Maps on an eight-day float through the Grand Canyon in August 2013 to capture the river imagery. The Street View camera, on a special mount built for the raft, captured a full 360-degree photo sphere every few seconds. This allows users to “join the raft” and explore 286 miles of the river, from Lee’s Ferry to Pearce Ferry. Members of the team (and American Rivers!) also wore the Street View Trekker camera to capture five popular side hikes, including the trail to the Nankoweap Granaries with a dramatic view overlooking the river.

When you’re ready to explore, pull up www.google.com/maps and type in “Colorado River.” Then drop the yellow pegman (he’s found bottom right on the screen) onto the big blue line that appears on the Colorado River and you’ll jump right into the raft with us! Here’s a great video that shows how it’s done (and some fun stretches of Colorado River Street View in hyperlapse!

If you’re unsure where to explore first, check out this page where you can see a collection of fun places to explore - from unique sites like Nankoweap Granaries, Redwall limestone cliffs, and Vulcan’s anvil (a huge chuck of lava-turned-rock right in the river!) to Bighorn sheep sightings, Vasey’s Paradise, and Phantom Ranch to some great rapids including Upset, 36 Mile, Hermit, and Crystal!

In conjunction with this launch, American Rivers is calling on President Obama and Congress to support federal programs that assist cities and farms in getting smarter about managing their water supplies.

Thirty-six million people from Denver to Los Angeles drink Colorado River water. The river irrigates nearly four million acres of land, which grows 15 percent of the nation’s crops. Over-allocation and drought have placed significant stress on water supplies and river health, and the basin is facing another drought this summer. Lower river flows threaten endangered fish and wildlife, along with the $26 billion dollar recreation economy that relies on the Colorado River.

The Colorado River and the Grand Canyon are now preserved in Street View, but now it’s time to protect and restore this endangered river for the longterm. Be part of the solution – take action and send President Obama and Congress a message with your support.

8 Responses to “American Rivers and Google Maps launch Colorado River Street View!”

Eric Neilsen

Street view lets you move the camera around. ONe very cool thing to do would be to show that feature through one of the rapids, rather than spending the time just buzzing down the river at unreal speeds.

Linda

I tried several times to move the pegman as shown in the video, but only was able to see “terrain”, in fact, I didn’t see any Big Blue Line representing the CO River? Am I doing something wrong?

Janet

Hi Devin,
This will be very cool when I figure it out! I can get the pegman in the raft and actually see Lee’s Ferry launch site, but I can’t make anything move except frame by frame with the arrow key. Help?
Thanks

    Devin Dotson

    Hi Janet, Street View moves frame by frame. The “hyperlapse” video above is just a special one Google created having their computers move through the Street View imagery and speeding it up for the video. The idea is to present a full 360-degree photo sphere to explore at any point. Requests have been submitted by many users for a sort of “faster forward” movement through Street View. It would be great if that feature comes out in the future to use it to move on down the river and cover more ground.

Wendy

After dragging and dropping the pegman, the video only shows for a split second. To see more, got to click on the screen again. Basically video won’t play in continuous mode. Are there any compatibility issues with Apple’s OS? Disappointing….wanted to ‘ride down the river’ today. Thx

Devin Dotson

Hi Wendy, definitely don’t worry that your OS is causing any problems. Street View moves frame by frame. The idea is to present a full 360-degree photo sphere to explore at any point. The “hyperlapse” video above is just a special one Google created having their computers move through the Street View imagery frame by frame and speeding it up for the video. Requests have been submitted by many users for a sort of “faster forward” movement through Street View. It would be great if that feature comes out in the future to use it to move on down the river and cover more ground.