Thursday September 29th, 2016

Read about the latest sports tech news, innovations, ideas and products that impact players, fans and the sports industry at SportTechie.com.

Walk the course like the pros do.

That is how Turner Sports is marketing its new initiative with Google and Ubilabs around its Ryder Cup coverage this week. Through a 360-degree photo experience, fans will have the opportunity to walk virtually around Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.

According to Rob Smith, director of product management for Turner Sports Golf, the Hazeltine Explorer will allow for millions of fans around the globe who cannot attend the Ryder Cup to experience it as if they were in attendance through RyderCup.com or the RyderCup apps.

Earlier this year, Turner had initial discussions with Google about how to deploy its Street View Trekker Technology and bring fans closer to the action even if they were thousands of miles away. After deciding to collaborate, the sports broadcast network walked a wearable backpack throughout the entire course in May, capturing photos every two-and-a-half seconds to eventually create a 360-degree panoramic view. It was the largest use of the technology by Google.

Turner shipped 4,300 360-degree photos to Google, which then layered them into Google Maps. Turner solicited the services of Ubilabs, which specializes in map experiences and integrations, and eventually constructed an entire interactive experience around the photos while also incorporating other forms of content about the course. The interactive tour will also integrate video highlights into the user experience along with elevated graphs for every hole and course-specific historical moments.

For those spectators on site at Ryder Cup, fans will also have the ability to walk paths and crosswalks with the help of a Wayfinding feature built on the Google Maps API. The custom map of Hazeltine National Golf Club will give fans a detailed view of the course and enhance how people experience a golf event.

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