Virtual Tour of the Susquehanna Coming to a Screen Near You
Custom Pontoon Raft Fitted with Six-Camera Array Capturing Images of Entire River
Harrisburg, PA – In conjunction with its Envision the Susquehanna partners, the Chesapeake Conservancy, based in Annapolis, Md., has deployed a one-of-a-kind, handmade boat equipped with six cameras to capture images along the entire length of the Susquehanna River. Richmond, Va.-based Terrain360 built the custom craft and is leading the voyage down the East Coast’s longest river.
High-resolution, 360-degree images are taken every 50 feet by six cameras mounted on the vessel 10 feet above the water’s surface. These images will be stitched together to create a digital image map of the entire Susquehanna River, accessible by anyone with an Internet connection.
“The Susquehanna is the lifeblood for the rich diversity of flora and fauna living within its watershed, provides power to millions of people and is the source of more than 50 percent of the freshwater flowing to the Chesapeake Bay,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said. “With the Susquehanna having been named America’s Most Endangered River by American Rivers twice within the last decade, we realized that we could use technology to make it easier for people to connect with the river and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. We know that if people can connect with the river, they will be more likely to become stewards of the Susquehanna.”
The virtual tour will allow viewers to see first-hand what a paddling experience or other adventure on the river might be like. The maps produced from the images will include information on public access points, history, recreation and points of conservation value along the river. They will allow people to explore the river from their screens – whether phone, tablet or PC.
“We’re having a great time out on the Susquehanna,” said Terrain360’s Andy Thompson, from the Harrisburg, Pa. area. “It’s a beautiful river, and we’re very excited to share all 700 miles of it with anyone who has an Internet connection. We look a little strange coming down the river, with our red pontoons and cameras 10 feet in the air, but when people hear about what we’re doing, they are very excited.”
The boat and rotating crew will spend the summer capturing the images and creating the virtual tour of the Susquehanna, which should be available to the public later this year on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s web site at www.chesapeakeconservancy.org
River lovers can follow the voyage on Twitter @Terrain360 and @ChesConserv and submit name ideas for the watercraft.
Members of the media are invited to visit and ride along on the raft at any point during its voyage along the Susquehanna. Please contact Jody Couser at [email protected] to make arrangements.
The Chesapeake Conservancy’s mission is to strengthen the connection between people and the watershed, conserve the landscapes and special places that sustain the Chesapeake’s unique natural and cultural resources, and encourage the exploration and celebration of the Chesapeake as a national treasure. For more information, please visit www.ChesapeakeConservancy.org
Envision the Susquehanna is a collaborative effort of federal, state, local, academic, and non-profit organizations working throughout the Susquehanna watershed to improve the ecological and cultural integrity throughout the Susquehanna landscape and improve the quality of life for all citizens along the river. Led by the Chesapeake Conservancy, the core team of organizations working to carry out Envision the Susquehanna includes the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office, Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, Wildlife Management Institute, Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.