Google ties up with Singapore’s JustRunLah! to offer street views of popular running trails

JustRunLah! community members Paviter Singh (left) and Ben Flint don the Street View trekkers at Mount Faber Park April 27, 2017. — TODAY pic
JustRunLah! community members Paviter Singh (left) and Ben Flint don the Street View trekkers at Mount Faber Park April 27, 2017. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, April 30 — Singaporeans and tourists alike will soon be able explore 360˚ panoramic views of popular running trails in Singapore — all from the comfort of their mobile phones or computers.

Search giant Google in Singapore has tied up from local running group JustRunLah! to capture photographs of popular running routes like Singapore Botanic Gardens, Mount Faber Park and MacRitchie Reservoir, among others.

The group aims to cover more than 30 running routes spanning over 400km in the next few months. They plan to cover one on a “two-to-three week” basis after undergoing training sessions with the Google team, said Peter Tan, Managing Director, JustRunLah!, who also runs an online lifestyle and community site targeted at runners.

As a running enthusiast himself, he hopes the project will encourage more people to lead an active lifestyle, as well as allow runners to plan their treks ahead of time.

“Utimately, if you are not very familiar with the place and have not done any research, there’s a possibility you may turn a wrong one... With this project, I hope there’s the possibility of better planning. Anyone with a smartphone will see their route going forward, and if there’s any chance of getting lost, you can make your way back as well,” said Tan.

Members of the group will take turns to don Google’s Street View trekker — a 20kg and 1.2m tall “wearable backpack” — as they traverse around the island’s running routes. The Street View trekker has 15 cameras mounted at the top for 360˚ panoramic imagery. Only two sets are currently available in Singapore, and one will be loaned to JustRunLah!.

On Thursday, members of the group, including Tan, had their first go at the trekker while walking on the Marang trail at Mount Faber. Because of the size and weight of the equipment, individuals using the trekker have been advised not to run for safety reasons, and also to capture the images of best quality.

According to Google, roughly one in five searches on their search engine are location-related, especially searches from mobile devices. More than a third of mobile queries are related to location, the company said.

“We can see that location clearly matters to people, and so it’s our goal to provide the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps and make them accessible to as many people as possible,” said Cynthia Wei, Street View Programme Manager, APAC.

Users who are interested to contribute to Street View can download the app on the Google Play and iOS app store. — TODAY

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