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Google Street View goes off road in California parks (pictures)

Mounted on the backs of hikers, Google's 360-degree camera tech goes hiking in 14 California state parks and beaches.

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James Martin
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1 of 7 James Martin/CNET

Panoramic park imagery

California State Parks and Google Maps are working together to bring the state's park, trails and beaches to Street View.

The first 14 state park are live on Google Maps starting Tuesday, with more virtual views of parks and trails on the way. The parks were mapped using Google's Trekker backpack system, which can capture 360-panoramic views of places inaccessible to cars.

Related article: "A walk in the park: Google Maps hits the trails in California"

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Mount Tamalpais State Park

John Laird, secretary of the California Natural Resources, speaks at Mount Tamalpais on Tuesday in Mill Valley, Calif., where California State Parks and Google showed off their joint effort to map the state's parks.

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View from the trails

Google says the project is part of an effort to reach wider audiences, bringing the beauty of the outdoors to more than 1 billion Google Maps users around the world.

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Steep Ravine trail

A screen capture shows the new 360-degree panoramic view, live now on Google Maps, of the Steep Ravine Trail on Mount Tamalpais.

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Virtual park visits

The battery pack for the Trekker's camera lasts about 6-8 hours. The Street View maps will allow people from around the world visit California's state parks virtually, Google said.

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Andrew Molera State Park

A screen capture of Street View for Andrew Molera State Park, located along the coast in Big Sur, Calif.

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Off the grid and online

Google is working with the state to identify additional locations to map out, and its also looking at parks outside of California.

"Just because the road ends, doesn't mean there's not more beautiful imagery to be seen," said Deanna Yick, program manager for Google Street View.

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