People can now explore Pennsylvania’s Civil War Trails online with the help of Carnegie Mellon’s GigaPan technology and Google Earth.
The Robotics Institute’s CREATE Lab produced gigapixel panoramas, or GigaPans, of Civil War battlegrounds, cemeteries, museum exhibits, monuments and other sites of interest to Civil War enthusiasts that can now be accessed by anyone via a Pennsylvania Tourism Office Web site, www.pacivilwartrails.com.
"This new tool for Pennsylvania Civil War Trails will allow Pennsylvania to solidify its position as an industry 'thought leader' in tourism by not just embracing emerging technologies, but by building them," said George Cornelius, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
"The Pennsylvania Civil War Trails project is pioneering the use of new online media, including the revolutionary GigaPan technology, to re-imagine how the public can research, explore and visit the fantastic historic sites throughout our commonwealth," said Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University's The Robotics Institute. "This new information, which will be accessible from all manner of tourism sites throughout the state, will drive economies through tourism and drive history education and technology education in local schools. We are proud that Carnegie Mellon has been a member of the team that has made this possible."
GigaPan is a camera system developed by the Global Connections Project, a partnership that includes Nourbakhsh’s CREATE Lab, Google and NASA. A robotic camera mount uses almost any digital camera to take hundreds of photos of a scene, which are then stitched together using special software to create a GigaPan image that can be explored interactively with a computer.
The Pennsylvania Civil War Trails Web site uses Google Earth to display information about specific Civil War sites in Pennsylvania, as well as the GigaPan images. The project was made possible with financial support from Carnegie Mellon, the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, Google and the Dutch Country Roads regional tourism marketing partnership.