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Group brings Google Maps to Florida waterways

Apr 30, 2018
The Waterway View vessel gathering data.

The Waterway View vessel gathering data.

Courtesy MIASF

Thanks to Google Maps’ “Street View” feature, anyone with a smartphone or computer can take a digital tour of the world. Some of South Florida’s busiest waterways will soon be visible through a similar lens.

The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) has partnered with a Google Street View vendor to create Waterway View. The smartphone app aims to replicate the visual benefits of Street View on the Intracoastal Waterway and other nearby waterways from Palm Beach County to Key Largo.

The organization, which represents marine-based businesses, hopes boaters will use the app to connect with waterfront and shoreside businesses in addition to trip planning and familiarization with the region’s waterways.

“Just as Google Street View is a valuable instrument and a trusted way for businesses to connect with customers, Waterway View has the potential to be the most exciting new resource for the boating lifestyle,” MIASF CEO Phil Purcell said in a statement.

The app will run on smartphones and tablets.

Courtesy MIASF

The app, he added, can connect boaters with “restaurants, marinas, fuel docks, service and sales centers, and all the other resources they may need.”

Waterway View will be offered as a free download available on the Apple and Android platforms. Users can follow a “blue line” on the map through the ICW and major feeder waterways in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and parts of Monroe counties. That region is among the busiest in the U.S., with countless vessels and more than a dozen bridges.

Google Virtual Reality partner Jim Hilker will collect the imagery for the MIASF aboard boats made available by local vendors.

“Florida leads the country in boat registrations and its waterways are used by locals and tourists every day of the year. This will be a very useful platform for experienced boaters, newcomers and tourists looking to access the many locations available to them by water,” Hilker said in a statement.

Powerboats equipped with special cameras began mapping waterways in Broward County in February. The effort should wrap up this summer in Key Largo, and the app is slated for release in June.

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