Google Trekker showcases Ipswich to the world
LOCAL Ecco Ripley resident Josh Kerr has put Ipswich on an international pedestal after being awarded the role of Google's Ipswich Trekker.
Otherwise known as 'The Bear', Mr Kerr has been trekking through Ipswich's best kept secrets over the past two months with the Google Trekker device strapped to his back.
The device itself is fitted with 15 cameras, weighs 18 kilograms and records photos every 2.5 seconds to provide 360 views as the trekker walks through a location.
The weight proves no problem for The Bear, the six-foot-seven giant who weighs in at 110 kilograms, as he has successfully explored over 60 of Ipswich's best locations.
Once edited and checked for privacy issues by the Google team, the footage allows anyone anywhere in the world a chance to check out a destination without even leaving home.
He first saw the job advertisement on Facebook, advertised as the 'coolest job in the world' - and he couldn't agree more.
"I've hiked through heritage areas, bushland reserves, basically everywhere and anywhere that has a hiking trail in the wider Brisbane area,” Mr Kerr said.
He landed the unique job after submitting his video application, which involved him hiking up Mt Flinders while explaining why he would be the perfect candidate.
Mr Kerr said he is an avid hiker and works as an activities guide with Spicers Peak Lodge, so adventuring is definitely his forte.
"Hiking comes naturally to me, I've been doing it for the last three or four years so I am use to unique hikes and trails as well as mountain bike tours,” he said.
"I have a keen sense of adventure, and it's been great discovering Ipswich's hidden gems, some of which I've never known about and I've been a local resident the past 17 years.
"I would have to say the most enjoyable experience was being a passenger in a V8 while I was mapping Queensland Raceway, as well as adventuring through White Rock Conservation Area - I've been so lucky to experience so many great locations.
"I'd definitely recommend to locals and anyone who's travelling to Ipswich, to explore what our beautiful region has to offer, you will be surprised what you can find.”
Mr Kerr said not only has the past two-months working on the Google Trekker project been one of the most interesting things he's ever experienced but it has also been a great tourism boost for the region.
"Google Trekker has put Ipswich on the radar and has already created a huge tourism boom for the area,” he said.
"People are talking about locations, tourism and population growth in an area that was almost forgotten. Ipswich is finally getting the attention that it deserves.
"Ipswich will always hold a special place in my heart, it is my home base and being a part of exposing the region to an international audience is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
You can view his adventures on Instagram via @joshbearmaster.