Touch Screen Google Earth Exhibit

Touch Screen Google Earth Exhibit

Client:  Oakland Museum of California
Tools:  JavaScript, jQuery, Google Earth API, HTML Application, VBScript

Oakland Museum continues its innovative use of technology with "A Walk In The Wild: Continuing John Muir's Journey" (August 6, 2011 - January 22, 2012), an exhibition that explores environmental research and activism through a unique blend of historical and contemporary interactive and multisensory displays.

One part of this exhibition, "Follow Muir", is an interactive digital re-creation of John Muir's historic 1873 trek from Yosemite through the Southern Sierra Nevada and up Mt. Whitney. The museum's goal was to create an immersive, touch screen experience within Google Earth while still providing some level of guidance and maintaining certain limits.

For the display, VG designed and built a touch screen application using a unique combination of various software development tools. The application integrates the Windows 7 touch screen environment with the Google Earth API. The main framework is HTML-based and JavaScript, jQuery, and VBScript modules support the user interface and application interaction.

Visitors can move through the landscape in several different ways. Large buttons provide a quick way to perform specific actions. In addition, they can explore the virtual terrain on their own by moving their finger over the map. An extents limit keeps the visitors from straying outside of the study area.

Visitors can visit each of Muir's campsites, and view journal entries from that day along with some of Muir's drawings. Climbing tours follow Muir's routes along stunning canyons and up to the top of prominent peaks such as Mt. Darwin, Mt. Brewer, and Mt. Whitney. Sketchbook displays provide a unique view of Muir's drawings registered to the digital landscape.

Full screen with main view.

Campsite and virtual terrain with menu list.

Campsite popup detail.

Nameplate and view of the kiosk in the "Adventure" room.

Muir's sketchbook drawing of Mt. Ritter registered to the digital landscape.

Close-up of climb tour tools.

Campsite and Mt. Darwin virtual terrain.