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Virtual hiking Google Street View arrives in the Swiss Alps

The controversial Google Street View cameras have reached new heights, capturing Switzerland’s mountain hiking trails.  (SRG 10vor10, swissinfo.ch)

Google, the Swiss Alpine Club and Switzerland Tourism have teamed up to bring Street View to some of the remote corners of the Swiss mountains.

This is achieved thanks to the “Trekker”, a wearable backpack with a camera system on top. Using 15 cameras, it produces images that when arranged together create a 360° view.

Hiking trails can then be virtually explored through Google Maps. The Trekker system is specifically designed for remote areas that are only accessible on foot.

Supporters say the initiative with Google will allow  the general public to get closer to Switzerland’s alpine landscapes - if only virtually.

The hope is that the initiative will attract more interest and visitors to hiking trails and the Swiss Alpine Club’s mountain huts.

Critics however suggest that making hiking a virtual experience could trivialise it.

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