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How To Get A Job As A Google Maps Driver

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How To Get A Job As A Google Maps Driver

Google Maps enables us to travel to some of the most remote places in the world without even leaving our seats.

And at some point or another - we've all wondered how one goes about getting a job as a Google Maps driver or Trekker, as we envision ourselves travelling all over the world.

Well, the answer might surprise you.

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How to get a job as a Google Maps driver

 Google Maps cars past and present (Credit: Youtube/Google Maps)
Google Maps cars past and present (Credit: Youtube/Google Maps)

There doesn't seem to be one set way into the Google Maps driving gig, because it's exactly that: a gig.

Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google UK, told Techradar that Google drivers are contractors rather than actual Google employees. And that's because local contracted drivers will know their local area well, as Parsons explains:

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"A lot of it is put into the hands of the drivers because they tend to know the local areas. We say 'we need to cover every street that it's possible for you to drive down' - that's a major element of what we do. We can only really drive down public streets so the drivers pretty much go off and drive their own local neighbourhood."

Google Street View car in 2019 (Credit: PA)
Google Street View car in 2019 (Credit: PA)

How much do Google street drivers earn?

The hourly rate of a Google Street View driver can range between $11-$17 *(£7.80-£12). That's according to 2020 figures from Glassdoor.

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What model cars are the Google Street View cars?

According to Parsons, Google buys cars which can be easily modified to fit in all of the Street View camera tech. Those cars are all Vauxhall/Opel Astras. He told Techradar: "We chose those because we can interface quite easily with the on-board information system that the car has - it's something that we need to be able to plug into."

How do I become a Google Trekker?

For those who aren't familiar with the term, a Google Trekker is the pedestrian equivalent of a Google Maps driver.

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Google Trekkers in the Grand Canyon (Credit: Google)
Google Trekkers in the Grand Canyon (Credit: Google)

Google Trekkers are instantly recognisable, as they walk around the streets with a big green egg structure attached to their backpack, which is the Google camera.

Google Trekker (Credit: Google)
Google Trekker (Credit: Google)

The first place in the world to host the Google Trekker was Hawaii, in a partnership with the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau in 2013.

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Can anyone be a Google Trekker?

Google doesn't let just anybody borrow the Trekker. Google requires you to represent an organisation such as: a tourism board, non-profit, government agency, university or research group, or another third-party organisation.

Unlike Google Maps drivers, Google Trekkers don't appear to get paid, but your organisation can apply for funding to help cover any permits costs for the photos etc.

Wendy Hawk from the Canal & River Trust wears the Google Trekker in London (Credit: PA)
Wendy Hawk from the Canal & River Trust wears the Google Trekker in London (Credit: PA)

"You'll need to answer a few questions" explains Treehugger. "Like whether or not you'll help get the permits or releases required to photograph the locations, if you plan to promote the trek through your organization's public relations team, what are your goals while collecting imagery (other than looking especially cool and important while on the trail), and if you're hoping to get sponsorship from Google for the trek.

The next stop for the Google Trekker project is Alabama, US in June 2021. If you live there and you think you meet the criteria, this could be your chance. If you want to see when Google Trekker is coming to your local area, you can check here.

Featured Image Credit: Youtube/Google Maps

Topics: Google Maps

Laura Sanders
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