Happy St. Patty's Day. Google is doing a "special collect" to gather digital data for the Iditarod Trail, I assume there will be a lot of neat "street views" available to us on Google Earth and Google Maps now. I saw the Google capture platform and manual transport system at the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage and Race Start in Fairbanks riding on the back of a mysterious musher.
Today I ran into the Google guys in "Peace on Earth" cafe in Unalakleet. Like many Google guys you meet, they were wicked smart and quirky in a good way. Here are a few pics from the start, and a couple of bad exposures of John Bailey and his rig inside Peace on Earth. John was a post-doctorate in Vulcanology (Geology/Volcano guru) at University of Alaska, Fairbanks before he joined Google. He is carrying what is supposedly the same electronics/telemetry package you see on cars when Google is mapping streets, just mounted on a backpack, battery powered. Good article on John linked below as well.
While they were in Unalakleet, they were also walking the streets mapping the town. All the cars here have to come in by barge, so even Google probably won't send a car for the task.
Probably more on the coast town of Unalakleet when Trent passes through but here are a few pix in the meantime. I put a map in the gallery first to get your bearings. Unalakeet is the first town on the coast in the Iditarod before the run up the Norton Sound to Nome. The town of 700 is a historical fishing and trading village. It's a pretty amazing place.