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Creating Immersive VR Experiences in Freshwater Conservation/Queen's University Biological Station

Project Details

Project dates
01/09/2023  – 31/08/2025
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Allen Tian

Project Lead

Virtual tours of the St. Lawrence River featuring immersive 360 media can enhance user engagement, empathy, and accessibility on freshwater conservation issues at a low cost.

Project Description

Conservation in freshwater environments face challenges from underfunding and a low public profile. Immersive media and virtual tours can enhance user engagement, empathy, and accessibility at a low cost. In this project, I created a virtual tours of the St. Lawrence River featuring 360 VR-ready panoramic photos and video that are viewable online and in-person through in-person displays. The virtual tours cover a range of locations on the St. Lawrence River, including the Moses Saunders Dam, Lost Villages, St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Thousand Islands. Together, they tell the story of conservation on the St. Lawrence River, the journey of the American Eel, and the colonial and indigenous history of the river. Virtual tours allow a broad audience to experience a location in an immersive and interaction way without the impact of travel. Immersion helps build empathy and understanding of major conservation issues. This tour will be displayed at the Ontario Power Generation visitor centre at Cornwall and the AquaTarium at Brockville. From user and venue feedback and impact assessment, we will generate an SOP for creating additional tours.

This project has been created in commemoration of the lives of all the victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, including two Ocean Bridge ambassadors, Danielle Moore and Micah Messent. We aspire to carry on their legacy and commitment to making the world a better place by creating long-lasting impacts with a firm commitment to driving positive change for the environment and our ocean. We will never forget the light that Danielle and Micah brought to the world and will continue to keep them in our hearts. To learn more about these two amazing people, please visit: Honouring Danielle and Micah  – Ocean Wise. This work is partially funded by the Commemoration Fund for Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Tragedy.

What was your biggest challenge?

Negotiating with project partners was the biggest challenge. It was critical to understand the position and goals of other parties involved.

What was your most valuable takeaway?

Modularity and continuous assessment are critical to a project. Things often go wrong, and it’s important to understand why and what needs to change. It is also important to assess why something went right.


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