Articles

Houston Partners with Google to Allow for Virtual Park Visits

A new partnership means more than two dozen of Houston’s parks and trails are now available via Google Street View.

by Ryan Holeywell, The Urban Edge / May 4, 2016
Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, Houston, Texas Google Maps

Internet users can now take virtual walk-throughs of more than two dozen Houston parks and trails, thanks to a new partnership between the Houston Parks Board and Google.

Among the 31 sites that can now be seen via Google Street View are high-profile spots like Buffalo Bayou Park, Hermann Park and Memorial Park, as well as smaller neighborhood spots like the Heights Hike and Bike Trail and the Westchase Library Loop Trail.

“The new Street View images make Houston’s green spaces accessible in a whole new way,” said Tom Bacon, Houston Parks Board chairman, in a press release.

Typically, Google captures images for its Street View platform through cars — outfitted with cameras — that roam the streets and automatically take snapshots. But in the case of the parks and trails, the images were captured via Google Trekker, a wearable, 40-pound backpack that contains cameras and GPS devices used to gather images in areas not accessible to cars.

Houston Parks Board borrowed a Trekker and walked 150 miles of park land and trails to gather the images from November 2014 to April 2015.

The move should help generate buzz around the the Bayou Greenways 2020 project, the Houston Parks Board’s effort to create a continuous park system along all of Houston’s waterways. Bacon says he hopes the project helps the public get a preview of the project’s potential.

Click below for a full list of the parks and trails now accessible via Google Street View.

Bayou Greenway Trails:

Other Parks and Trails:

This article was originally published on The Urban Edge. The Kinder Institute for Urban Research is a multi-disciplinary ‘think-and-do tank’ housed on the Rice University campus in central Houston, focusing on urban issues in Houston, the American Sunbelt, and around the world.