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Canada  

Google at end of the Earth

It's official. Google Street View has now gone to the ends of the Earth.

As part of a deal with Parks Canada, the internet giant is now showcasing Street View images of one of the remotest places on the planet — Quttinirpaaq National Park on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island.

"We want people to care about the places that we protect," said Emma Upton, who manages the park. "Bringing it into people's homes seemed a really good idea. It is a difficult place to reach."

That is an understatement. Only a tiny sliver at Greenland's apex reaches further north.

To reach Quttinirpaaq, you first fly to Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. Your next flight takes you to Resolute on Cornwallis Island. Then you must hire a Twin Otter to fly to the park, where there are no communities, no services, no nothing.

It takes days and thousands of dollars. Fewer than 25 souls manage it each year.

Mountains, glaciers clinging to their sides, soar thousands of metres from icy seas. Rivers carve through rugged valleys past gentle hills. Wildlife includes herds of muskox, Arctic fox, wolves and 10-kilogram Arctic hares. Gyrfalcons and owls slice the skies.

Parks Canada staff were trained in the use of Google trekker cameras and spent July 2016 carrying them around the park as part of their regular work, said Upton.

"The camera itself is a very sturdy piece of equipment. It can be mounted on Ski-Doos, ATVs, on boats. In the case of a lot of our visits to national parks, it was actually a person carrying the Google trekker on their back."



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