‘Virtual tourism’ is trending

Article image - ‘Virtual tourism’ is trending Mayor Liz Schmidt and local historian Malcolm MacDonald unveil the new AR tabletop.

Charters Towers Regional Council, North Queensland, has recently launched a new augmented reality (AR) experience ‘Towers Hill in WWII’ to attract visitors to the North.

The gold mining town has taken advantage of their local mining and World War II landmark – Towers Hill to create a unique experience for residents and visitors.

By implementing cutting-edge technology, the rich history of Charters Towers has been brought to life through a mixture of real-world and computer-generated images in real time.

Anyone with an AR compatible smart device and the new ‘Towers Hill in WWII’ app can watch B-25 bombers flyover or explore the inside of a virtual bunker; full of munition.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Johansson, said the new technology allows Charters Towers to offer something different.

“This kind of technology is another tool we can use to progress our region. It allows visitors to experience a world they wouldn’t normally get to experience.

“We utilised an international team of 3D artists and modellers, history consultants, programmers, writers, designers and User Experience experts to create this project.

“Using AR allows us to stay relevant in this ever increasing, ever changing world of technology. This is just a starting point for us and we hope to build on this in the future to offer more unique experiences.”

The Towers Hill project offers different AR elements including:

  • WWII strategy maps of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea and Charters Towers Airfield
  • a WWII Mitchell B-25 Bomber and its armaments
  • a life-size WWII bomber squadron fly-over
  • a life-size WWII munitions bunker
  • become a war hero in a WWII poster in a unique AR photo opportunity and
  • historical information and photographs.

The AR Project cost $54,000 and forms part of the Towers Hill Abilities Ramp Project, fully funded by the Works for Queensland Program, an initiative of the Queensland Government.