With the support of a $285,000 grant from Pennsylvania's Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, Carnegie Mellon University's Global Connection Project will use new imaging technology to enable "virtual tourists" to immerse themselves in the state's Civil War trails.
The Global Connection Project's Gigapan technology makes it possible to create panoramic views of the trail that will be available online. The technology allows viewers to zoom in on the image to see items of interest in greater detail. Gigapan creates the high-resolution panoramas, each with more than a billion pixels, by combining thousands of digital images.
Gov. Ed Rendell announced the grant Dec. 11, noting Pennsylvania will be the first state to capitalize on the new technology. In addition to panoramas, the Civil War trail project also will link historical, geographical and tourist information regarding the trails through Google Earth.
The Global Connection Project is a partnership of Carnegie Mellon, the National Geographic Society, Google Inc. and NASA Ames Research Center and is co-directed by Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor in the Robotics Institute, and Randy Sargent, project scientist at Carnegie Mellon West. The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Ripple Effects Interactive, Public Intelligence and the Pennsylvania Tourism Office are collaborating with the Global Connection Project to highlight the commonwealth's Civil War trails.