Tricyle mapping Paris streets for Google

PARIS: Parisians and tourists, relax. That goofy looking tricycle equipped with loads of other high-tech equipment roaming the streets is NOT some mad scientist’s invention on the rampage.

The three-wheeler is a sight with its long pole holding nine cameras, a GPS, a computer and a generator. But the contraption tooling around the French capital needs all that gear to do its job - adding three-dimensional images to Google’s Street View Maps.

The US company has hired two young cyclists to ride through gardens, historical sites and other pedestrian-only areas on the device to take thousands of

digital photos. “The idea is to be able to offer 360-degree images of places that were inaccessible before,” Google spokesperson Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce said in an interview.

The riders, wearing Google tee-shirts and white helmets, are visiting

well-known sites such as the Chateau

de Versailles, west of Paris, the Jardin

du Luxembourg on the city’s Left Bank or Les Halles, in the busy centre of

the French capital.

Google is to map Paris until August 20, then head to the north of the country. In the fall, the tricycle goes south, said Dauba-Pantanacce.

The company plans to add new photos to their Street View option in all French cities with touristic areas that may be of interest to visitors.

Similar tricycles have already combed the streets of Britain and Italy in June and July, said Dauba-Pantanacce. Google also plans to make 3-D maps of streets in other European countries.