Inside the life of a Google mapper

Must’ve been hard to get to Mordor.

A man holds a smartphone, with the Google Maps app open.
A man holds a smartphone, with the Google Maps app open. –REUTERS

Google Maps are expansive, helpful, and constantly being updated. You may have seen a few of the cars around the city, and there are more than a few people who’ve given us a laugh at Google Maps’ expense.

But, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a Google Mapper, New Yorker reporter Andrew Marantz got the chance to help map the Hudson River for Street View. Since cars can’t walk on water or climb every mountain, the Trekker, a 360-degree panaramic camera mounted to a backpack, fills in.

It’s about 40 pounds and looks like a Buzz Lightyear-themed rattle, but it’s helping Google better map the world around us, so we’ll forgive the appearance.

Google Product Manager Ryan Falor used the Trekker in 2012 to traverse the Grand Canyon. —Google handout/AFP/Getty Images

According to Deanna Yick, the Street View program manager, the backpacks are aiding in making “the online experience seamless,’’ so you’ll be able to drop the yellow dude into more locations than street corners and parks.

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