New Brunswick

Google Street View trike tours N.B. campuses

New Brunswick universities are getting a new tour guide — Google's Street View trike.
Google's Street View trike was riding across Mount Allison University's campus in Sackville earlier this week. (Mount Allison)

New Brunswick universities are getting a new tour guide — Google’s Street View trike.

The man-powered tricycle, mounted with cameras, was at Mount Allison University in Sackville earlier this week, taking photographs of the landscape to "map" the campus.

The pictures will be used to create a virtual, interactive, 360 degree panoramic view of the university, which will benefit prospective students, said Mount A's director of marketing and communications, Tony Frost.

"This gives them the ability to walk around it in, you know, the comfort of their own home if you will, and see what kind of a special place this is and maybe take the next step and come and see it for real, which would be really great."

Google, after photographing cities around the world with its fleet of camera-mounted cars, is now deploying the tricycles to navigate locations that are inaccessible by cars, such as campuses, sports venues, theme parks and landmarks.

Easy to spot

The tricycles with their cameras, generator and other equipment, weigh more than 100 kilograms and are almost 2.5 metres high.

"They are pretty easy to spot because the Google logo is on everything and you could see people's heads turning," said Frost.

"It was interesting, it was causing quite a buzz here on the Mount A campus, people said ‘Whoa, did you see Google was here?’"

Kevin Steely, a Mount Allison student as well as a summer camp counsellor,  was among those watching the Google employee.

"He showed us all about the bike and kind of how it works," said Steely.

"He had a generator with him to keep the recording devices working and he showed the kids the computer he had on board  to show them some of the pictures he was taking of campus."

A Google spokesperson says universities worldwide are participating in the Street View mapping of their campuses.

The Google Street View team has completed Mount Allison's grounds, and the University of New Brunswick's Fredericton campus.

UNB’s Saint John campus is scheduled to be mapped in late September.