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 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.
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!