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U.S. Marine Walks 5,000 Miles with Google Maps

By - Source: CNET | B 19 comments

Relied on several Google services for his whole journey.

With the help of Google Maps and Google Translate, Winston Fiore, a U.S. marine previously deployed to Senegal and Afghanistan, walked 5000 miles for charity.

Calling the journey his "Smile Trek," the inspiration for Fiore's journey came in 2007 when he witnessed "an incredible amount of poverty" while in Senegal. His walk was to raise money for the International Children's Surgical Foundation (ICSF), a nonprofit organization that provides free corrective surgery for kids in developing countries.

Fiore (seen on the left of the image), who completed his journey last week, has hiked through several regions during the past year, including Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Singapore.

While speaking in Singapore, which was his start and end point, Fiore said he didn't carry physical maps as he solely relied on Google Maps to aid his daily walking route.

Fiore also utilized Google Translate in order to communicate with locals, Google Latitude for keeping supporters/friends/family informed of his whereabouts, as well as MyTracks which records his speed, distance and locations visited.

Fiore spoke about a man suffering from a facial deformity known as Elephant Man Syndrome in Vietnam. Using Google Translate, he was able to communicate with the local and informed him about receiving facial reconstructive surgery at ICSF's medical mission situated nearby. Moreover, the app helped Fiore receive help when he was bitten by a stray dog in Thailand.

Non-Google services used by the marine were reading apps including Kindle and Audible. He also used Skype to keep in touch with family and friends. Much to his surprise, Fiore said he had a mobile internet connection during the majority of his walk, including 3G or GRPS/EDGE even if he was "standing in the middle of a rice paddy in Vietnam." When failing to obtain a signal for connection, he'd locate a cell tower after a few hours.

Batteries for his gadgets were recharged while he rested through a generator or a local household. He had taken a spare battery for his smartphone but wished he had began his journey with more.

He took an 11-inch MacBook Air and started his journey with a Samsung Infuse 4G. However, he found it difficult to obtain Asian SIM cards to work with on his device. He subsequently switched to a Galaxy Nexus, accompanied by the Galaxy Note 2.

Currently, Fiore has raised $67,649 out of a fundraising goal of $75,000.

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Top Comments
  • 33 Hide
    dauntekong , November 27, 2012 4:46 AM
    Fiore: "Thank you Google for the great Map and Samsung for the Awesomeness GALAXY NOTE II!"

    Good thing he didn't use Apple's Map, he'll end up in a tigers den or even worse...
  • 28 Hide
    joytech22 , November 27, 2012 5:47 AM
    Nobody will know what happened to the other marine using Apple Maps.
  • 25 Hide
    amuffin , November 27, 2012 5:44 AM
    dauntekongFiore: "Thank you Google for the great Map and Samsung for the Awesomeness GALAXY NOTE II!"Good thing he didn't use Apple's Map, he'll end up in a tigers den or even worse...

    He'll end up in space with Apple maps.

    "you mean I have to walk upwards at a 90 degree angle?"
Other Comments
  • 33 Hide
    dauntekong , November 27, 2012 4:46 AM
    Fiore: "Thank you Google for the great Map and Samsung for the Awesomeness GALAXY NOTE II!"

    Good thing he didn't use Apple's Map, he'll end up in a tigers den or even worse...
  • 25 Hide
    amuffin , November 27, 2012 5:44 AM
    dauntekongFiore: "Thank you Google for the great Map and Samsung for the Awesomeness GALAXY NOTE II!"Good thing he didn't use Apple's Map, he'll end up in a tigers den or even worse...

    He'll end up in space with Apple maps.

    "you mean I have to walk upwards at a 90 degree angle?"
  • 28 Hide
    joytech22 , November 27, 2012 5:47 AM
    Nobody will know what happened to the other marine using Apple Maps.
  • 11 Hide
    rohitbaran , November 27, 2012 6:03 AM
    joytech22Nobody will know what happened to the other marine using Apple Maps.

    He probably has reached dark space now.
  • 11 Hide
    guardianangel42 , November 27, 2012 6:24 AM
    Marines are badass. They're a different freakin' breed.

    Most people walk around a track for charity. The truly daring ones run marathons.

    What's the marine do? Hike 5,000 miles through Vietnam, spreading the word about nearby clinics and raising over 50,000 all by himself.
  • 8 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 27, 2012 6:32 AM
    The Marine using apple maps never left home :D .
  • 5 Hide
    Cons29 , November 27, 2012 7:04 AM
    kudos, doing something that helps.

    at least it is not just something cheezy promotional crap.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 27, 2012 8:41 AM
    would have been more interesting to read about his journey and experience and not what freakin "apps" he used geez
  • -5 Hide
    gti88 , November 27, 2012 9:29 AM
    He would have raised much more in 5 years if he had a job in the US, but with very different experience, that's for sure.
  • -5 Hide
    gti88 , November 27, 2012 9:31 AM
    Oh, wait, he only spent 1 year? That's another story.
  • 2 Hide
    gti88 , November 27, 2012 9:33 AM
    Time well spent.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 27, 2012 10:56 AM
    SEMPER FI

    You'd NEVER see a liberal peacenik get his hands dirty and do something like that
  • 3 Hide
    manicmike , November 27, 2012 12:12 PM
    Quote:
    :)  one thing to say... Hero


    Someone "thumbs-down"(ed) this post? Why?

    Most people's idea of "charity" is dropping a few pennies that is their change into the box for Ronald McDonald house after they pay for their Big Mac... Good for him, giving a year of his life to help complete strangers who didn't even speak his language. It's not some homeless guy on the corner, he went to the other side of the planet to make a difference. Kudos to you sir, and God bless.
  • -5 Hide
    bllue , November 27, 2012 12:40 PM
    Sounds more like a paid Google PR
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , November 27, 2012 2:35 PM
    guardianangel42Marines are badass. They're a different freakin' breed. Most people walk around a track for charity. The truly daring ones run marathons. What's the marine do? Hike 5,000 miles through Vietnam, spreading the word about nearby clinics and raising over 50,000 all by himself.


    sorry, but thats not the marine part, the marine part just lets him push past the point where most people would give up for a day, he is just that outstanding a human being.
  • 0 Hide
    dgingeri , November 27, 2012 3:24 PM
    Why does this make me think of a Proclaimers song?
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 27, 2012 6:58 PM
    If I could walk 500 miles and I could walk 500 more just to be the man who walked 5,000 miles right up to your door... come on sing it with me! :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    Kami3k , November 28, 2012 6:03 AM
    rohitbaranHe probably has reached dark space now.


    And become the first human harvested by the Reapers....
  • 0 Hide
    mpdugas , November 28, 2012 12:22 PM
    The Marines are very different, in a very good way!