Features

Voters can help trail get all Googley-eyed

The Centennial Trail along the shoreline of the Spokane River may get a Google Street View. (File)
The Centennial Trail along the shoreline of the Spokane River may get a Google Street View. (File)

Spokane’s Centennial Trail is a finalist to be Googled by trike.

Say what?

Well, Google has this oversize tricycle with a camera attached. The company sends it around the world to obtain street views that aren’t easily captured by car or van.

Google’s Street View was launched in May 2007 to controversy, because it allows users to get a close-up peek at homes and businesses. Protesters worried about privacy and burglary issues when it first came on the scene.

But its popularity overrode much of the controversy, and now street views are available in all 50 states and in many places throughout the world.

If you’ve never used Google Maps’ Street View feature, picture someone standing in the street in front of your home or business, snapping a photo and placing that photo on the Web.

Google is now focusing its attention on parks and trails, university campuses, pedestrian malls, theme parks, zoos and landmarks.

A few months ago, Google asked for nominations in each of those categories. It received “25,000 great ideas,” according to a press release.

The Centennial Trail made the cut in the parks/trails category and is competing with four other trails/paths to be Googled by trike.

The other finalists include Boulder Creek Bike Path in Colorado; Capital Crescent Trail in the Washington, D.C., area; the Schuylkill River Trail in Pennsylvania; and Stevens Creek Trail in California.

To win, the Centennial Trail needs lots of votes.

“I’m encouraging people to vote, vote, vote,” says Kaye Turner, executive director of the Friends of the Centennial Trail. “Go to the online link. You can vote as many times as possible.”

The 37-mile Spokane River Centennial Trail begins at the Idaho state line and ends at Nine Mile Falls. It gets 2 million users a year.

Trail-users can buy a map of the trail for $5.75 from the Friends’ Web site at www. spokanecentennialtrail. org.

If Googled in Street View, potential users from all over the world could plan out their visits to the trail, Turner said. Google mapping would also point out “gaps in the trail,” which might help with ongoing projects to fill in those gaps.

The Google Trike in action


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