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Scott Ashton with the Google Trekker backpack and Kevin Witowich

Volunteers Strap on Google Trekker Camera to Bring Unique Views of Oceanside to the Web

Scott Ashton and Rick Wright set up the Trekker camera (click on image to enlarge photo)

Oceanside CA— For the next few weeks, volunteers will be strapping on a backpack and wander around Oceanside capturing various points of interest with a special camera. MainStreet Oceanside, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and Visit Oceanside are partnering with Google to bring a panoramic virtual tour of Oceanside to the internet.

Google has a Street View camera loan program where it makes equipment available to professional photographers, travelers, and organizations such as tourism boards, non-profits, and government agencies to bring a 360° view of cultural, historical or areas touristic significance that cannot be reached by the Google Street View camera vehicles.

“I’m not sure why Google decided to contact us but when they did, we immediately got together with the Oceanside Chamber and Visit Oceanside to put together a proposal,” said Rick Wright, Executive Director of MainStreet Oceanside.

The camera backpack, which is controlled by a smart phone app,  weighs approximately 40 pounds, has 15 lenses and captures images every 2.5 seconds. On Saturday morning, July 22, 2017, Rick Wright, Scott Ashton, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce CEO and Kevin Witowich, Immediate Past Chair at the Chamber, put the Trekker camera to work for the first time on this project. Scott and Kevin walked the 3.6 miles of Oceanside beach from St. Malo Beach to the north jetty at the Oceanside Harbor while Rick drove the support vehicle.

“The camera isn’t uncomfortable to wear but it is a little top-heavy,” said Kevin who wore the backpack from the pier to the jetty.  The trek, which took just over an hour to complete, was made difficult due to a rising tide that forced Scott and Kevin to scramble around several rock outcroppings.

On Monday, volunteers will be making a trip around the harbor which will include a tour of the harbor from the water aboard an OPD Harbor Patrol boat. Other locations set to be filmed include Artist Alley and the pier. A volunteer from NCTD will shoot the Transit Center and Howard LaGrange, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Oceanside will take the Trekker camera along the San Luis Rey River Trail.

When the project is complete, it promises to be a great tool for people to use while researching their next visit to the city. Oceanside joins a growing list of scenic places filmed by the Trekker cameras that include the Grand Canyon, the Amazon, the Canadian Arctic, and the Pyramids of Giza.