Philly and Google Partner on Park Mapping

First major U.S. city to image its hundreds of miles of trails and parks.

A Google Trekker imaging the Grand Canyon (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

People the world over will soon be able to access Philadelphia’s park system — virtually, via Google Maps. After imaging millions of miles of streets in the U.S. and across the globe, Google is partnering with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to capture panoramic imagery of 200 miles of the city’s trails, parks and the cultural attractions within, to be added to Map’s Street View function. While Google has taken Street View off the road before —to image the Grand Canyon, Houston parks, the Buffalo River and more — Philly will become the first major U.S. city to partner with Google to map its parks system, the largest in the country.

To do so, between now and the end of October, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation staff will hike the city’s parks wearing Google’s Trekker backpack, a 50-pound pack equipped with a 15-lens camera that captures 360-degree panoramic views. Google will upload the information to the database after a six- to 12-month image stitching and editing process.

The collaboration is part of Google’s Trekker program, which aims to expand the reach of Street View by allowing anyone to contribute to Google Maps. Tourism boards, nonprofits, government agencies, universities, research institutions and other entities can apply to borrow the Trekker pack.

Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at

Follow Jen .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: philadelphiaparksmappinggoogle

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 878 other sustainers such as:

  • Ben in Van Nuys, CA at $5/Month
  • Anonymous in Westport, California, CA at $240/Year
  • Anonymous at $25/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    2022-2023 Solutions of the Year magazine

  • Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind