Climb High and Dive Deep with New 360° Explorations
Fans of California State Parks can now virtually explore the tops of the tallest trees to the depths of a submarine canyon thanks to a new partnership with Timelooper. Utilizing 360° cameras and three-dimensional (3D), augmented reality (AR) design, the two new apps highlight unique and often inaccessible habitats such as the towering canopy of a coast redwood tree and the ocean floor of a kelp forest. Curious explorers can now access these State Parks treasures from the comfort of their own homes.
The two recently released apps were produced by North Coast Redwood District and CA State Parks’ Marine Protected Area (MPA) Outreach and Education Project. With the Coast Redwood Canopy app, users can grow a coast redwood tree in the middle of the room, then climb between different levels of the canopy. The armchair explorers can look around inside the 360° video while scientists Steve Sillett and Jim Campbell Spickler point out and explain the different features of the habitat.
The coast redwood forests (Sequoia sempervirens) of northern California once covered over two million acres. Due to 150 years of logging, only 4% of the original forest remains, mostly protected by California State Parks and the National Park Service. The canopy of these old-growth forests – hundreds of feet above the ground – shelters an ecosystem found nowhere else in the world. This app offers an unprecedented view of the scientists’ first ascent into an unexplored old-grown redwood tree.
“By bringing the magic of the ancient redwood canopy to people across the world, we hope the public understands the fragility of these ecosystems and helps safeguard them for future generations”, Marnin Robbins, Interpretive Program Manager for North Coast Redwoods District.
App users can grow a coast redwood tree in their home and then climb to different levels of its canopy with scientists using the Coast Redwood Canopy app designed by Timelooper.
The Dive into Point Lobos app focuses on the marine environment found off the shores of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Inquisitive explorers are invited to dive deep with California State University Monterey Bay researchers as they scuba dive through a thriving kelp forest, a deep submarine canyon, and a desolate urchin barren. Along the way, app users will learn about species that live in these different marine habitats and get a better understanding of the marine protected areas (MPAs) that safeguard the waters and wildlife found around Point Lobos.
Kelp forests are just one of many habitats protected by California’s network of 124 MPAs. The network stretches the length of California’s coastline with 36 MPAs located adjacent to 42 State Parks units. Covering a range of marine ecosystems throughout state waters, our MPAs help conserve biological diversity while enhancing recreational and educational opportunities for the public.
“Many students and members of the public are unable to don scuba diving gear to experience the beauty of Point Lobos Marine Reserve, so this is a great opportunity for them to explore the underwater world in a new and easily accessible way,” said Erika Delemarre, the MPA Outreach and Education Project Coordinator and a member of the PORTS Program team. “During a time when students are restricted from taking field trips, we are hopeful the Dive into Point Lobos app will be an engaging tool to support their distance learning,” she added.
The MPA Outreach and Education Project collaborated with CSUMB's James Lindholm and the California Undersea Imagery Archive to capture the 360° underwater photography as well as fund the development of the app. Click to download the Dive into Point Lobos app for free for iOS or Android now!
California State Parks is looking forward to expanding its 360° virtual tour offerings with Timelooper’s technology in the coming year. Check out the PORTS Digital Content Library for other engaging resources to use with your students!
Students can now dive deep into Point Lobos State Marine Reserve's underwater ecosystems using a new augmented-reality, 360° underwater app. Screenshot of Dive into Point Lobos app by Timelooper.