We may never stop giving directions as, “stay left at the blue water tank then pass the broken fence with the horse and turn right at the tree with the tire swing,” but we’re pretty excited that Kirk Thompson, owner of N2theBlue Scuba Diving, has put more than 1,100 miles of road, golf courses, hikes and beaches on Google Maps Street View.
A former Silicon Valley analyst, Kirk moved to St. Croix a few years ago. He quickly discovered that residents and visitors had a hard time finding his scuba shop, so he decided to use his connections with Google to fix the situation. Google allowed Kirk to borrow one of their Street View Trekker cameras – the first time they’ve ever done so with an individual! The camera even went on a ride with Cruzan Cowgirls through the rainforest. From an article in Travel + Leisure:
“Thompson is essentially responsible for accurately mapping St. Croix— and by extension, creating the virtual experience for those who take a digital sneak peek before they visit. Over the past months, he has become a familiar sight on the island, conspicuous with his hiking poles and 40-pound appendage, roaming through botanical gardens: dutifully tracing 18-hole golf courses; plodding about old sugar mills; and embarking on a five-mile hike around Point Udall, the easternmost point of the territorial United States, in full Caribbean sun and humidity. He walked from the end of the pier in Frederiksted and into town so a theoretical visitor from a cruise ship (the island gets about 50 ships a year) might preview the experience.”
So far, many of St. Croix’s famous hikes, beaches, roads and landmarks are already uploaded and available. In the next month they will upload 360-degree imagery of roads and neighborhoods. We had some fun experimenting and found this great view from Isaac’s Point!
The U.S. Virgin Islands government is now on board and has flown Kirk to St. John and St. Thomas. What started as a volunteer effort to help put his own business on the map will now help all businesses, residents and visitors to St. Croix and our sister islands. This will surely be a wonderful tool for those interested in buying real estate on St. Croix to view properties before visiting.