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Iditablog: Former UAF professor capturing part of Iditarod trail for Google

Google is heading out on the Iditarod Trail this year, at least for a while.

John Bailey, a former University of Alaska Fairbanks professor who now works as a program manager for Google Geo Education, is doing a Google Street View "special collect" to capture portions of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

So don't be surprised to see Bailey wearing the large, globe-like camera that fits in a backpack during the Saturday ceremonial start and some parts of the trail near the restart in Fairbanks. The imagery he collects will later be available online for users across the world to interact with in a manner similar to Google Street View.

Bailey said generally Google doesn't publicize when and where it does the special collects, but that it would be hard to miss him during the ceremonial start.

"We haven't been hiding the fact, but not overly promoting it," he said. "It's going to be obvious something is going on."

In an interview Tuesday, Bailey said Google was invited to cover the race to improve the Iditarod's education efforts.

"It gives people a chance to access locations impossible for them to get to," Bailey said.

Bailey noted that special collects include a variety of places, from Las Vegas wedding chapels to the Great Pyramids of Giza. Covering the trail will be Google's first "special collect" in Alaska, though Bailey noted Google Street View has a long history in Alaska, with the first images captured in 2007.

Bailey declined to say when the imagery would be available online.

Explore more:

Street View treks

Behind the scenes

Views of special collects

Education storytelling: Bailey's program is part of Google Earth Outreach and their "Geo for Good" mission.

Google Geo Education