Lagan Valley launch Google Trekker – A virtual Exploration

Senior ranger Dan Clarke mapping out the paths.
Senior ranger Dan Clarke mapping out the paths.

The picturesque Lagan Valley Regional Park’s tracks, trails and towpaths are now available to virtual visitors around the world thanks to a partnership with Google’s Trekker Programme.

Lagan Valley Regional Park have partnered with Google’s innovative Trekker Program to map the tracks, trails and towpath in the area. The Regional Park has over 38 kilometres (24 miles) of paths and trails, including the towpath.

The area is the most popular outdoor visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, recording 1.3 million users in 2016. One of those users spent several weeks diligently walking all of the paths and trails with the Google camera orb on his back.

Like the Google car that mapped all our streets and roads, this version is integrated into a back pack so that the area can be accessed the same way that we use Google street view.

“People’s reactions were wide ranging’ said senior ranger Dan Clarke when they saw him out and about on the trails. Some thought that he had been taken over by an alien, others were openly curious and there were a few who shied away from the machine.

He added: “Rest assured that when we did encounter people on the trail Google have blurred out their faces. For those of you who had wanted to chat, we may have had to press on so that we could capture good imagery.

“It was also tough on the calf muscles as the kit weighs about 20 kilos.”

Google Trekker allows you to access Lagan Valley Regional Park from your computer or device just like you can in street view. Perhaps you would like to get an idea of the where to visit in the Regional Park, check a potential route for a walk or run, or maybe you just want to take a tour of the Park from the comfort of your home.

We are currently celebrating 50 years of guardianship of the area and it is astonishing the power of the new technology that is now available to us.

Trails can be accessed directly from Google Maps or from Lagan Valley Regional Park’s website from our side menu under Google Trekker.

A Google spokesperson said: “Google Street View gives people access to some of the most incredible views in the world which were previously undocumented. We hope the images of the Lagan Valley Regional Park, taken by the Trekker camera, will give people an incentive to visit and explore the area.”