BENTONVILLE (KFSM) – A local middle school teacher teamed up with Google to help map out trails and rivers in Northwest Arkansas.
Larry Merriman, a teacher at Old High Middle School in Bentonville, wears the Google Trekker backpack when he goes on outdoor adventures. The Trekker has 15 cameras, which capture pictures every two seconds. The pictures create a 360-degree view of the locations he takes the Trekker.
“It is Google street view, for not streets,” Merriman said. “I’m just trying to showcase a lot of the really cool stuff we have here in Northwest Arkansas, or even anywhere in Arkansas, that is not accessible by the Google street car.”
Merriman applied to use the Trekker in 2015. He later received the technology in a shipment.
Merriman carries a cellphone with him while using the Trekker, which uses GPS locating technology to track where the photos are taken. He then sends the photos back to Google for their use.
“A lot of the work and what happens is done on the back end, when Google gets the images and goes through them and stitches it all together,” Merriman said.
Google did not give Merriman a set deadline to return the system. Until the company asks for it back, Merriman said he hopes to map out the Razorback Greenway, the Crystal Bridges trails, the Buffalo River, and the Ozark Natural Science Center.
“I try to go to at least one location a week to get a good amount of footage," Merriman said. "I think as long as I am productive with it, they will be okay with my continuing to use it.”