RALEIGH -- North Carolina is launching NC360, an online immersive experience that allows anyone across the world to virtually explore the state's natural and cultural attractions, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The project is made possible by the NC Department of Information Technology.
The project, which is the largest-scale state government sponsored 360-degree imagery initiative to date, has potential applications for education, tourism, accessibility, and safety and emergency response. It also shows how state government is using new technology in its services for the residents of the state.
“From the beaches to the mountains and everywhere in between, North Carolina is a great place to live, work and visit," said Gov. Cooper. “NC360 allows visitors to use technology to visit our state parks and learn about North Carolina's culture and history, and can even help when responding to emergencies.”
Inspired by the 100th anniversary of North Carolina state parks in 2016, NC DIT and its Innovation Center (iCenter) mapped historical and cultural sites across the state using the Google Street View Trekker, a backpack with Google’s Street View 360-degree camera system mounted to the top. This technology helps us share more of what North Carolina has to offer to students, teachers, rescuers, explorers and those who may just be curious.
“The Department of Information Technology is excited to lead the way and bring this service to our residents and our state,” said Eric Boyette, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Information Technology and State Chief Information Officer. “Anyone can use this technology, whether you are a teacher in the mountains showing his or her students Fort Macon or planning a hiking trip. It’s a way to introduce new technology to students in their classrooms.”
In 2016, a team of DIT and North Carolina State Parks employees traveled the state to capture 360-degree imagery of 30 sites, and for the project’s second phase in 2018, DIT employees captured imagery of 20 more sites, focusing on cultural and historic sites as well as parks. The project was also expanded to include 360-degree imagery from other cameras, including those that capture indoor imagery.
NC360 will continue to grow and evolve as a way to provide immersive, virtual access to showcase North Carolina. For more information about the program and to see featured sites, visit nc.gov/nc360.