Google goes virtual skiing

26th February 2011, by Chris Gill

The Google mobile in Whistler

The Google mobile in Whistler

Zermatt has been chosen as Google’s first European attempt to take its Street View success to the slopes.

If you have used Google Street View, you’ll know that it’s a neat little mapping system that allows people to take virtual walks down city streets, in quite some detail. The results are impressive, although there were early issues with privacy that have now been resolved.

Mapping the pistes would mean you could take a virtual tour of the ski area, following pistes and landmarks to get an idea of what the resort is like; a piste panorama.

It’s a good overview and a bit of fun while you’re stuck at home dreaming of the next trip. Stand at the top of a mountain and follow whichever run you like down.

So what does it take to map the slopes in a ski resort? Basically, the Google team mounts its Street View camera system onto a snowmobile for the piste and snow-covered roads and goes around taking snapshots of the area. Then there’s the complex task of piecing them all together to produce the end result.

The technology has already been used in North America, introduced in Whistler for the Olympics. Zermatt was chosen as the first European destination, following a Switzerland Tourism survey and competition.

Of the 30 or so resorts suggested, the readers voted Zermatt for its variety, famous mountain and large resort. Zermatt tourism is delighted, and thinks that the new service will prove a useful addition to existing resources and popular with potential visitors.

Check it out:

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