Lonely Planet Writer

Google Street View captures its most northerly footage yet

The team at Google Street View has released some epic footage of Quttinirpaaq National Park in Nunavut, Canada. It’s the farthest north the tech giant has gone with its mapping technology – in fact, due to its remoteness, only around 50 people set foot in the park annually. Nonetheless, it’s a captivating part of the world, as you can tell from these fantastic images.

Google Street View team mapping Grise Fiord
Taking the Google Trekker along the shorelines of Canada’s Grise Fiord. Photo by Ryan Bray

In order to capture the best footage, experienced park workers were enlisted. “A selection of Parks Canada staff members were trained to operate Google’s equipment,” says Park Manager, Emma Upton. “This enabled Google to document remote Canadian national parks that are otherwise challenging to visit during the summer schedule. Using Google Trekker, Parks Canada was able to capture, during a period of five days, the spectacular scenery around Tanquary Fiord in Quttinirpaaq National Park, including the Air Force glacier, MacDonald River, Omega Lakes, and Green Valley. We’re really excited about the project – understanding and appreciation for Quttinirpaaq can be greatly increased through the use of Google Street View.”

Google Street View goes north
This is the farthest north Google Street View has ever gone. Photo by Ryan Bray

The sprawling park (which covers an area of 37,775km²) is the perfect destination for any traveller seeking to get off the beaten track. “It’s only accessible by charter flight from Resolute Bay,” Emma explains. “Parks Canada arranges a scheduled charter flight during the summer, taking visitors to Tanquary Fiord; single seats are available for experienced and independent travellers.”

Tanquary Fiord, Canada
The astonishing footage was captured around the park’s Tanquary Fiord. Photo by Ryan Bray

Despite its extreme northerly location, Quttinirpaaq is home to a varied terrain. “It protects a surprisingly diverse landscape,” says Emma, “ranging from rugged peaks to rolling hills, vast ice caps to the largest freshwater body north of the Arctic Circle. Its topography has created micro-climates that allow certain plants and animals, like muskox and arctic hare, to thrive in Canada’s most northern latitudes. You can find pockets of tall standing arnica, and many types of saxifrage. While the landscape may seem naked upon arrival, when people spend time wandering the tundra, they’re always surprised at its diversity. Distances are a bit tough to gauge at first – a rock that looks close by may in fact be 10km away!”