FRESNO, Calif. – Imagine being the only driver on a two-lane asphalt highway as the stark desolation of Death Valley National park passes on each side and the crystal blue sky stretches up from the horizon.
Now that's possible with the click of a computer mouse as the Google Street View service has added five California national parks to its 5 million miles of the globe's roadways.
The company sought permission from the Department of the Interior before filming in May. Drivers traveled Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Redwood, Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks in vehicles rigged with 15-lens cameras that point in all directions. Software stitches the images together in an ever-advancing panorama.
Officials from Google and the parks hope it inspires visitors to see the sights for themselves.