Latest Google Maps Street View Lets You Float Down The Colorado River, Explore The Grand Canyon [VIDEO]

By Josh Lieberman on March 14, 2014 3:58 PM EDT

grand canyon colorado river
Take a trip down the Colorado River with Google Maps Street View. (Photo: Facebook / American Rivers)

One of the greatest things about life in the 21st century is the ability to explore the world without having to properly dress yourself or even get up from the couch. You can go to space, walk around Jerry's apartment from "Seinfeld," and now, courtesy of those wizards at Google, you can float down the Colorado River.

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"For 6 million years, the Colorado River has flowed through the heart of the desert southwest, its waters slowly carving out a canyon so vast it can be seen from space--yet so remote it didn't appear on early maps of the region," writes Chris Williams of American Rivers, a conservation group that partnered with Google to create the Colorado River virtual tour. "Now with Google Street View, you can ride the whitewater rapids, cruise the sleepy river bends, and discover the side canyons that make the Colorado River a treasured resource."

Google captured 286 miles of the river as winds its way through the Grand Canyon, an eight-day journey through the 36-mile rapid, the Bridge of Sighs and Vulcan's Anvil, among other sites of interest. To capture the river in all its glory, Google strapped two arrays of multi-lens Street View cameras onto two rafts with a crew of about twenty people.

Aside from just being plain cool, the Colorado River trek is part of a conservation effort. "One of the United States' most important resources, the Colorado River provides drinking water for 36 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, supports a $26 billion recreation industry, and irrigates nearly 4 million acres of land that grow 15 percent of our nation's crops," Williams notes. "But it's also one of the most endangered, dammed, diverted and plumbed rivers in the world, thanks to a century of management policies and practices that have promoted the use of Colorado River water at an unsustainable rate." American Rivers encourages readers to send President Obama a letter to about water management through their site.

Other Google Street Views of interest include the Taj Mahal, explorer Ernest Shakleton's hut in Antarctica and Machu Picchu. You can see plenty more here.

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