Warrnambool Leading the Way for Virtual Escapes
Middle Island and Flagstaff Hill can be explored from anywhere in the world thanks to two new digital experiences launched just in time for the school holidays.For the first time since the island’s closure to the public in 2006, you can now experience the hidden world of wonder that is Middle Island – using augmented reality. The Middle Island experience uses new photogrammetry technology that pieces together hundreds of high-resolution drone photographs. This means that smartphone users can now place Middle Island in their own homes (in a virtual sense) and explore the many caves, find penguin huts and hangout spots of the guardian maremma dogs, with an incredible clarity and zoom capacity to spot details they may not otherwise notice from a simple picture. As users physically move around the island with their device, more of the island will be revealed and more details will be uncovered. The Flagstaff Hill virtual tour was filmed using 360-degree cameras. Users can navigate their way around the village and learn more about life in the 19th century from the virtual tour guide. The tour works even better with a smartphone and VR headset, providing a fully immersive experience.
Warrnambool Mayor Tony Herbert said that while both experiences were timely given the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, both had the potential to be well used for years to come. “The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that individuals, businesses and other organisations have embraced digital technology in new and creative ways,” he said. “Middle Island is one of the first complete landmasses to be mapped using this technology, so this project is really on the cutting edge. “In the future we can use this model for experiential website design, virtual reality tours and gaming applications. One day we will be able to add birds, dogs and even foxes to the experience to make it even more exciting.
“Both the Middle Island augmented reality project and the Flagstaff Hill virtual tour went from concept to completion in less than three months, so I’d like to congratulate Council’s Visitor Economy staff for their hard work to get them up and running so quickly. You can find the Middle Island augmented reality model at www.visitwarrnambool.com.au/middle-island while the Flagstaff Hill virtual tour is at www.flagstaffhill.com. To celebrate the launch of the virtual tour, Flagstaff Hill is giving away five Google HD Cardboard 2.0 (3rd Gen) Virtual Reality Headsets. For your chance to win, follow Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village on Facebook and/or Instagram and tag Flagstaff Hill in a post about what you’ve missed or are excited to see or do at Flagstaff Hill when restriction ease. Posts must be published by midnight on July 30 and must be publicly visible. Full terms and conditions are on the Flagstaff Hill website.