Trek View is using street-level panoramic maps of the natural world to inspire everyone to preserve it.
What is Trek View?
"You can't protect what you don't understand"
"People won't change unless they care"
Hi! I'm Dave.
Back in 2019 I took a 360-degree camera and started filming hiking trails.
They quickly attracted millions of views online and other hikers asked me how they could do the same. So I showed them.
I created VR apps for schools allowing school children to go on virtual field trips -- many of whom had never left the cities in which they lived.
Then local community groups, larger commercial organisations and even some celebrities wanted to use the photos for their own environmental causes.
At the same time, I became interested in computer vision, the ability to train a computer to automatically classify what's inside an image.
I quickly realised the potential for using this data to understand the environment at scale was huge.
And so Trek View became a thing.
I originally wanted to call it Trail View, but a church was already using the domain name!
How is Trek View imagery used?
Our team of computer and environmental scientists, alongside our research partners, use computer vision to classify what's inside an image, from species of trees and their health, to coastal erosion and its impact.
Our work is used by researchers to quickly understand the health of the environment so that they can generate solutions to protect it, whilst also creating historic records of environments at risk of being lost, through natural or man-made means, and to expose the damage being done.
OpenStreetMap contributors also use our imagery to aid their work with detailed street-level imagery showing whats "in the map" using the iD and JOSM Editors.
We also strongly believe that immersive visual street-level records of our natural world will help build people's understanding of the biggest environmental issues to spark their curiosity and trigger their engagement on the topics.
And there's more...
Our imagery is viewed by over 200,000 people each month. Some of inspiring use-cases we've seen include:
- K12 Education: Teachers use our virtual field trips and live video calls with researchers in the field to provide students with an interactive way to cover curriculum content.
- Sustainable Tourism: Commercial organisations, like national parks and tourism boards, publish their outdoor locations as virtual tours to encourage new visitors whilst showing them how to visit responsibly.
- Disaster Response: NGO partners collect imagery in disaster settings, where it is extremely important to get accurate information from the field to plan a response.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I become a Trek View photographer?
Individuals, groups, or organisations looking to capture 360-degree tours of our natural world or in disaster situations for non-commercial purposes are encouraged to submit an application to our camera loan program here.
Occasionally, we also require full time travel photographers. All open positions are listed on our jobs page here.
Are you affiliated with Google?
We publish some of our projects on Google platforms, but Trek View is not officially associated with Google.
I have a question about your imagery. How can I contact Trek View?
Our Image Charter covers some of the most common questions asked about our projects and the associated imagery.
If our Image Charter does not answer your question, please contact us using this form.
I need your help
Trek View is currently run as a side-project to my day job.
Whilst myself and the generous contributions of others help us maintain and improve our open source software, hosting and software costs for our projects are not always free.
I currently pay $100 each month out of my own pocket to keep Map the Paths online and freely available to users without ads.
To help support the project, you can become a Patreon supporter. Each supporter will play a vital part in ensuring we can continue to offer Trek View software for free. Any additional funds will be used to support our Trekker Loan program.
Thanks for your support!