Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation climbs out of a Galapagos lava tunnel. (Courtesy of Google)


Google announced its StreetView trekker has plunged under the waters of the Galapagos and tracked across its islands, bringing to the internet 360-degree images of the isolated landscape and world's largest living tortoises that inspired Darwin to develop his theory of evolution.

A smaller version of the same technology Google has used to do photographic drive-bys of nearly every address in the world, the Google Street View trekker consists of fifteen lenses seated inside an orb and mounted on a 42-lb aluminum frame backpack, snapping 75-megapixel photos at 2.5 frames per second. Google is stitching together and processing the Galapagos photos, and hopes to publish them online later this year.

That includes underwater encounters with sea lions, giant tortoises munching on vegetation, and sightings of blue-footed boobies. "Google Maps users will be able to zoom in on their blue webbed feet," Raleigh Seamster, Project Lead, Google Maps, told NBC News. An interactive preview of the sea lion panorama is already online: http://embed.panedia.com/vst/uwe/vst...f&map=zqhgbyjt


More: http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/google...iew-6C10094980