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October 12, 2009

Google Trike: My Perfect Next Job

I've had indications of what my perfect next job could be - I could be a bicycle guide along the Great Allegheny Passage. I could run a pedicab hauling passengers between Station Square and Southside. My latest ambition somewhat diminishes those other possibilities: I could work for Google Maps.

I've only ever seen a Google car once, but there are Google vehicles driving the roads everywhere on behalf of Google Maps. They have funny masts sticking out of them, with all sorts of electronics on the boom - GPS receivers, probably WAAS receivers, and digital cameras pointed in all directions. Recently, this lead to the introduction of Google Streets View.

In fact, here in Pittsburgh, somebody who knew when the Google car was coming staged a some performance art for the Google car to encounter, digitize and document. The Street View of Sampsonia Way is online here.

Street View is very popular. There's a limitation; Google was only documenting what could be seen on public roadways; there was no documentation of footpaths, jogging paths, walkways, or bike trails. Enter: the Google Trike. A perfect next job for me could be pedaling the Google Trike.


The Google Trike is a bicycle that travels where the Google cars can't go. Here's a picture (via BikePittsburgh, thanks!) of the Google Trike on a Pittsburgh trail - the Southside Trail, if I've got that right, looking across the river at downtown.


Here's a picture of a Google Trike mapping a narrow alley in Rome:


Interview with Google Trike Operator Pilot


Google Trike at Stonehenge:


Also, I expect they'll make a contribution to the effective organization of the bicycle dashboard, which cries out for advancement:


The use of a tricycle is inspired. Imagine if we'd had that insight forty years ago, maybe this would've looked different:



This could be my perfect next job. Although, I would suggest, the Google Trike could use fenders, and a bell. And an orange triangle. This is just way cooler than riding a Good Humor tricycle.

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