The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is photographing the Israel National Trail using Google Street View technology for Google Maps. It is the longest hiking trail photographed for Google Maps and the first stretching the length of an entire country.

The Israel National Trail (map courtesy of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, http://www.natureisrael.org/cms_uploads/Israel%20National%20Trail%20Documents/IsraelNationalTrail_map.jpg)

The Israel National Trail (map courtesy of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, http://www.natureisrael.org/cms_uploads/Israel%20National%20Trail%20Documents/IsraelNationalTrail_map.jpg)

Over the next three months, SPNI’s youth volunteers will hike the 680-mile trail carrying Google Street View Trekker cameras to benefit future hikers and users.

Google has sent two specially built cameras to Israel for the project, which SPNI is conducting in partnership with Google Israel.

SPNI launched the Israel National Trail in 1995. The trail begins in Kibbutz Dan in northern Israel and ends at SPNI’s Eilat Field School on the Red Sea. It passes through the Galilee and Carmel and hits the Mediterranean coastline, Tel Aviv, Rosh Ha’ayin, Elad, the Modi’in area, the Judean lowlands, archaeological sites at Bet Guvrin, the Negev wilderness and the Eilat Mountains.

The Israel National Trail embodies the nature, landscape, heritage, tradition, religions and cultures that compose modern Israeli society, making the trail an unforgettable experience. The trail tells the story of the country, its people, its heritage, its landscapes, and its flora and fauna.

“SPNI sees a great importance in presenting and exposing the country and its nature to both Israelis and world citizens,” SPNI CEO Moshe “Kosha” Pakman said. “Exposing the Israel National Trail through Street View will encourage tourists from Israel and abroad to experience with their feet and their senses the various cultures and landscapes of Israel, to fall in love with them, and to take action to preserve them.”

Google launched its Street View project in May 2007. It enables users to take virtual trips and navigate neighborhoods, historic areas and cultural sites through panoramic street-level images. The Israel National Trail will join such virtual vacation spots in Google Maps as the Khumbu Valley at the foot of Mount Everest in Nepal, the Grand Canyon, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the pyramids at Giza.

“After we complete this project, the Israel National Trail will join the world’s greatest heritage and nature sites that exist in Google Maps,” Google Israel CEO Meir Brand said.

More about the available Street View treks can be found at www.google.com/maps/about/behind-the-scenes/streetview/treks.