University Park, Pa. -- Penn State's University Park campus is now available for virtual walk-throughs, thanks to the Google "Trike" and the Street View feature of Google Maps.
Google Street View visited the campus three times from October 2008 through August 2009 to collect 360-degree digital imagery around a majority of University Park's high-traffic sidewalks, as well as a special trip through the Nittany Lions' tunnel and onto the turf of Beaver Stadium. Now Web users nearly anywhere can see what it looks like to enter the stadium from the perspective of a Nittany Lion football player or Blue Band member, take a stroll down the Pattee Mall, sit on the steps of Old Main and visit the Bryce Jordan Center.
The first visit to University Park by the Trike and its riders occurred when the apparatus was the only one of its kind. They tried to cover as many walkways as possible using their image-collection process, which involves riding the 250-pound, three-wheeled bicycle while a Street View camera automatically gathers images.
"Normally accessible on city streets from a driver's perspective, the Google Maps Street View team approached Penn State to be one of the first universities accessible from a human viewpoint on its Google Maps site, this time from a pedestrian perspective -- or what a student or faculty member might see on any given day while walking to class," explained Bill Mahon, vice president of University Relations.
"More than 100,000 students, faculty and staff and a half-million alumni around the world are a few keystrokes away from 'walking' through the tunnel on to the field at Beaver Stadium or enjoying a virtual stroll past the elms lining the Old Main mall, and can experience the climb across the IST building walkway above Atherton Street," he added. "We anticipate creative Penn Staters will quickly develop some very unique uses for the Google Street View content on Web sites and applications."
"I began thinking about building a bicycle-based Street View system after realizing how many great places around the world aren't accessible by car, but still would be perfect to include in Street View on Google Maps. College campuses are great places for our Trike to visit. I’m very excited that Google Maps now features Street View imagery of Penn State, giving students a new way to learn their way around campus or show it off to friends and family, and giving alumni or prospective students a unique way to feel connected to the campus. We also really enjoyed the opportunity to take the Trike into Beaver stadium -- this is the first stadium interior we’ve included in Street View, and I’m sure football fans around the country will certainly love this new view," said Dan Ratner, Senior Mechanical Engineer on the Street View team and creator of the Trike.
While at University Park, Google cartographers captured some street views from State College streets bordering campus, including parts of North Atherton Street and College Avenue.
Google Maps began including Street View images in 2007. Currently, more than a dozen countries have been mapped and more than 100 cities can be seen online. Penn State is one of the first universities in the United States to have imagery added to Google Maps, the world's most popular online mapping site.
Photos taken while the Google Street View team was in State College for image collection are viewable at http://live.psu.edu/album/2115 online.
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