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

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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  • dauntekong
    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...
  • amuffin
    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?"
  • joytech22
    Nobody will know what happened to the other marine using Apple Maps.
  • rohitbaran
    joytech22Nobody will know what happened to the other marine using Apple Maps.He probably has reached dark space now.
  • guardianangel42
    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.
  • cats_Paw
    The Marine using apple maps never left home :D.
  • Cons29
    kudos, doing something that helps.

    at least it is not just something cheezy promotional crap.
  • would have been more interesting to read about his journey and experience and not what freakin "apps" he used geez
  • gti88
    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.
  • gti88
    Oh, wait, he only spent 1 year? That's another story.