Pennsylvania DMO provides Civil War trail mix with Google Earth and high-definition images

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office is showing off its Civil War trails with an online tool that blends Google Earth, interactive GigaPan high-definition panoramic images, and informational narratives in the form of “story stops” about 40 historic destinations.

Here’s how it works.

Visitors to Civil War Trails in Google Earth view icons standing for historic places, museums, battlefields, story stops and GigaPan photos. The image looks like this:


When you click on an icon representing a GigaPan photo for Boiling Springs, for instance, a pop-up says:

“Boiling Springs was first settled in the 1740s, when the now famous grist mill was established. In the years that followed, a local iron industry also grew along its seven-acre man-made lake.

“The village was formally founded in 1845, after which it began to grow well into the 19th century. Before the Civil War, Boiling Springs was also one of the stops on the underground railroad.”

You can then click on a link to “interact with this Gigapan photo” and you’ll see this image of Boiling Springs.


Of course, you can play with the image and zoom in and out etc. So, here’s the image from a different angle.


And you can zoom in to absorb details of the architecture etc. like this:


Thus, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, like forward-looking destination-marketing organizations, or DMOs, globally, is getting creative in inspiring trip-planning, and using advanced technological tools to spur travel to what it considers must-see  historical or cultural destinations.

The technology for the images was developed by the Global Connections Project through the cooperation of Carnegie Mellon University, NASA’s Ames Research Center and Google.

The Pennsylvania Civil War Trails on Google Earth project was funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, CMU, Google and the Dutch Country Roads regional tourism marketing partnership.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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  1. Joe Buhler

    Innovative effort in bringing together different technologies to make the destination planning experience come alive. Must help, of course, to have Carnegie Mellon located in your state as a welcome resource!

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