Google Maps Grand Canyon Trails

In September, Google announced its incredible "Street View" of the Great Barrier Reef, and this month the company's team will be mapping drier features, and going farther inland — to the Grand Canyon.

Google announced the initiative on Wednesday and explained how members of the mapping team will use backpacks outfitted with the new Trekker camera system. The device employs 15 cameras (5 megapixels each) that snap photos every 2.5 seconds. The result is Google's famous 360-degree panoramas.

The photos should include gorgeous shots of juniper trees, white asters, the Colorado River and countless columns and buttes. The team will start with the canyon's South Rim vistas, the Bright Angel trail and the South Kaibab Trail. Passing hikers photographed will have their faces blurred for privacy.

When the expedition is finished, the photos will be stitched together to create the Street View.

The use of the backpacks won't stop here. Per usual, Google is staying ambitious. The company wants to deploy them into more places including national forests, the canals of Venice and Mount Everest.

Google Street View now includes more than 3,000 cities in 43 countries, and its teams and volunteers have covered more than 5 million miles.

If you want to see the Trekker backpacks in action, check out this great slideshow from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Via Gadling and The Salt Lake Tribune.