CBVA’s Menu-Driven, ADA-Certified Virtual Reality Tour the First to Map Entire Town via Google Street, Interior Mapping, Drone-Mounted Cameras
CBVA is thought to be the first tourism bureau to use existing Google Street View technology combined with menu-driven, interior mapping and drone-mounted cameras to inventory and map an entire town. The virtual reality tour on the homepage of the Town of Colonial Beach Travel and Tourism website, VisitCBVA, is the brainchild of Frank Clark, vice president, Business Photos America, Inc., a Google Trusted Agency.
Combining the technologies provides a revolutionary way to view the entire town. Visitors can preview lodging, restaurants, marinas, businesses, museums and tourist attractions, as well as the beach (the second largest in Virginia), Monroe Bay and the Potomac River, which border the peninsula town.
“Our vision is to synchronize technology with ‘old towne’ charm, creating 2018 utility while maintaining our small town feel,” notes Quinn Robertson, town manager, Town of Colonial Beach. “Google Street View provides the right venue for this synergistic approach to tourism.”
Google Street View has been actively in use since around 2007. It was the first service to allow visitors to visually explore areas step-by-step, as though they were actually there themselves. Starting in late 2010, Google began allowing businesses to submit high-quality panoramas to be included on the Street View platform, thus providing an inside view of office buildings and other public spaces. Business Photos America took this a step further by programming a menu and information system overlay to showcase the towns asset’s, shops, and history.
Clark, a serial entrepreneur and Google photographer, grew up as a weekend visitor to Colonial Beach.
“I love this town and wanted give something back,” says Clark. “Having developed this technology for large venues like hospitals and college campus with handicapped people in mind, I thought, why not Colonial Beach? What better gift could I give?”
Clark has worked on much larger projects, including the Washington National Cathedral, Dallas Mavericks stadium and presidential birthplaces.
“Promoting small town America seemed the logical next step. Google lays the foundation that allows us to push the virtual reality to the next level,” concluded Clark.
Individuals with mobility issues can use the service to preview select locations and see for themselves whether a particular business is accessible to them, even inside, as not all businesses and locations may be ADA compliant.