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One man’s three-million step journey across Ipswich

Ipswich’s Google Trekker project has concluded – at least on the ground. Now the footage from 57 locations around the region will be stitched together and uploaded in coming months to Google Street View.

It’s been an incredible adventure for Josh ‘The Bear’ Kerr since he answered an advertisement for a ‘Human Wanted’ campaign early this year.

The call was put out by Ipswich City Council which needed to find someone willing and able to walk the Google Trekker device around the region.

This form of mapping might involved the latest technology but it still requires a human to capture the images on foot.

In all, Josh explored 57 locations across Ipswich, clocking up more than three million steps along the way, in the most comprehensive Google Street View mapping project of any single region in the southern hemisphere.

“I’m just super grateful to have been part of this experience,” he said.

“We had a fantastic team of people behind the scenes making everything happen.”

There were a few times when the trekker had to be taken in a vehicle – mapping the entire 130km of mountain biking and hiking trails at Hidden Vale Adventure Park, for example, would have been tricky on foot.

The park is one of the largest in the country, second only to one in Tasmania.

Among the locations mapped was the Ipswich Nature Centre with its resident wombat, spotted quolls, bilbies, wallabies and farm animals.

Some days the Google Trekker left the ground – including the sunrise float across the land in a Floating Images Hot Air Balloon.

Pterodactyl Helicopters stepped in to assist when the camera crew needed to get to the top of Flinders Peak – but Josh walked the entire 680m climb – with the 20kg Google Trekker device on his back, as will be revealed when the footage is available via Google Street View.

He said discovering so many unique and beautiful natural and heritage destinations around the region had been a highlight.

“I had a wedge-tailed eagle take off right next to me while the trekker was capturing the trails at Hidden Vale so it will be interested to see if that is captured in the final cut,” he said.

So much walking can create a mean thirst so it was only fair that Josh sampled the local brew when the Google Trekker project took him to Pumpyard Bar & Brewery in the historic 88 Limestone precinct.

Beyond the Google Trekker project, Josh will continue his work in the region as an ambassador with the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre, running tours in and around the heritage city including a walking tour of historic Queens Park which will include a Japanese Tea Ceremony in Nerima Gardens, on October 13.

You can keep up with Josh’s future adventuers on Instagram via @joshbearmaster

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