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Google's new high-tech mapping backpack (pictures)

Google's mapped the world with bikes, cars, and airplanes, but the company wants to get a little more micro with a backpack that records Street View imagery.

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Josh Lowensohn
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The new backpack

SAN FRANCISCO--Google's mapped the world with airplanes, bicycles, and even on the backs of snowmobiles. But the company's thinking bigger in a small package.

Today, the company showed off a new backpack it's using to gather up outdoor imagery for its Street View technology. CNET got a hands-on after the debut. Click through to find out more about this high-tech backpack.

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Suiting up

CNET's Rafe Needleman gets the backpack on with a little help.

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Striking a pose

Walk like an Egyptian, or a Googler? We're not sure either.

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"My kid weighs more than this."

Needleman says "no big deal" to wearing this 35-pound rig on his back. "My kid weighs more than this," he says.

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Who you gonna call?

We're told the backpack is a prototype.

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Handles

Why are the handles near the top for, you ask? For another person to help you take the thing off.

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Storm trooper meets Ghost buster

The rear of the pack, and our intrepid reporter.

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More of the back

Not a lot of buttons and knobs poking out here.

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Built on an army issue frame

The camouflage remains from the pack's military beginnings.

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GPS tech

Various GPS and data technology, which Google's rather unspecific about at this point.

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The eyes

The virtual eyeballs of the whole operation, 15 lenses at 5 megapixels each. The end image is 65 megapixels after overlap is accounted for.

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Oh hi there!

More of the lens mount.

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Lenses up close

More of the lenses.

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For your phone...

And of course there's a place to put your phone.

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"Hello?"

Needleman demonstrates that phone calls can be made while wearing the prototype pack.

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Still on

Needleman carries on a casual conversation with Google's Vincent while the backpack observes.

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Sumi Das

Journalist Sumi Das gives the backpack a spin.

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In Tahoe

Luc Vincent, Google's Street View Engineering Director, takes it out for a spin in Lake Tahoe.

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Out for a ski

Luc Vincent again, skiing.

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In a warmer climate

The pack, out on a hike.

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More in the wild.

Look out behind you! Oh wait, it's backpack with a bunch of cameras.

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