Fairmount Park First Major Urban Park System To Get Google Street View Treatment


Beneath Henry Avenue Bridge | Photo: Michael Bixler

Beneath Henry Avenue Bridge | Photo: Michael Bixler

Fairmount Park’s trail system is about to become even more accessible. On Monday, May 15 Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy will launch their Google Street View Trekker program, a nationwide mapping initiative to digitalize hiking trails and unique, off-the-beaten-path locations to add to the technology company’s online Street View database.

Trekker hi-res

The Google Trekker pack | Photo: Google

Philadelphia, home to the largest urban park system in the country, will be the first major city to partner with Google on the project. PPR and FPC will borrow one of Google’s Trekker backpacks, a 50-pound pack fitted with a 15-lens camera system, to record over 200 miles of trails and other points of interest within and around Fairmount Park. High-resolution images will be collected from now until the end of October. The photographs will be submitted to Google, stitched together to present 360-degree panoramic views, and uploaded onto the Google Street View platform. After the editing process is complete, PPR and FPC will announce when the maps will go live to the public.

“What this technology and opportunity provides is an enhanced way for visitors to connect with these special places in the U.S. in a way they may never have before. Google expects many people may never get to explore this place in person, so they are so happy to open it up for the world to enjoy,” says a press release from the Fairmount Park Conservancy.

100 miles of Bucks County were recently recorded in late summer 2015 by Google’s Trekker program, providing 13 virtual tours of verdant parkland, countryside, and popular, hard-to-reach sightseeing locations like Ringing Rocks Park and the top of Bowman’s Tower.

The Google Street Trekker launch for Philadelphia park’s and trails will take place on Monday, May 15 at 1PM on Belmont Plateau, Cross Country Trail Head at 4201 Montgomery Drive. Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Tim Clair, Interim Executive Director, Fairmount Park Conservancy will officiate the program. PPR staff and Benjamin Franklin will be on hand to demonstrate the Google Trekker backpack’s function and technology.

About the author

Michael Bixler is a writer, photographer, and managing editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a former arts and entertainment reporter with Mountain Xpress weekly in Asheville, North Carolina and a native of South Carolina. Bixler has a keen interest in adaptive reuse, underappreciated architecture, contemporary literature and art, and forward-thinking dialogue about people and place. Follow him on Instagram

1 Comment

  1. Good news. It will be nice to visit Philly’s parks again. At my age I doubt I will ever get a chance to come back and do it in person.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

March 19, 2018  |  Vantage

University City District's beautification of the 40th Street Trolley Portal was high on concept, but appears to have fumbled on delivery. Contributor Ann de Forest has the full review > more

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor's Preservation Task Force Meeting

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor’s Preservation Task Force Meeting

March 15, 2018  |  News

Mayor Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force convened today following the release of a draft of a summary of summaries on the state of preservation in Philadelphia. Logistical bickering and sticker activities ensued. Starr Herr-Cardillo reports > more

Remembering Philly's 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

Remembering Philly’s 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

March 13, 2018  |  Vantage

On the eve of the national student walkout honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting, Michael Bixler takes a look back at November 17, 1967 when teenage activists demonstrating for equal rights became the target of a violent police attack > more

Oscar's Tavern Still Parties Like It's 1972

Oscar’s Tavern Still Parties Like It’s 1972

March 12, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow saddles up to the bar at Oscar's Tavern where the spirit of "Old Philadelphia" is as effervescent as their lagers > more

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

March 9, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a whirlwind exploration of Philadelphia's notorious garbage problem, starting with the long-gone East Central Incinerator at Penn's Landing and then sailing around the globe before returning to today's trashy situation > more

Historic Freight Station Lives Again At Lincoln Square

Historic Freight Station Lives Again At Lincoln Square

March 7, 2018  |  News

Michael Bixler gives us a peek inside the old PW&B train shed under construction at Broad Street and Washington Avenue. The former freight station is currently being converted into a grocery store, part of the rising mixed-use development Lincoln Square > more