The Wheeling National Heritage Corp. recently announced the release of the Wheeling Civil War Walking Tour mobile app. The app is part of Wheeling's efforts to commemorate the American Civil War and the struggles to unite the country.
Wheeling played a pivotal role during the early years of the war and in the formation of West Virginia. 2011 marks the first year of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.
The application explores 22 sites in Wheeling that have ties to the Civil War era. The sites range from West Virginia Independence Hall and the Wheeling Suspension Bridge to the homes of union supporters and confederate sympathizers. Through this application users are led on a tour of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods of North Wheeling, East Wheeling, Center Wheeling and Wheeling Island.
The app contains a variety of dynamic features including, audio descriptions that let users use earphones to listen to the history of each site while they visit the location; a video section that provides a glimpse of the past via historic reenactments from West Virginia Independence Hall; and, a "Walking Tour" powered by a new mobile technology called augmented reality, or "AR".
The AR feature ‘magically' overlays an image of each site on the horizon at the sites' exact geo-locations. This enables visitors to downtown Wheeling to scan the horizon with their device and easily locate and navigate from site to site.
"We are so pleased with the outcome of this project," said Jeremy Morris, executive director of the Wheeling National Heritage Area. "We are using some very interesting technology that enables residents and visitors to explore the Civil War history of Wheeling."
The app is currently available on Apple iPhones and iPads. An Android version of the app will be available after New Year. In addition, a traditional paper brochure of the Civil War Walking Tour will be available in the coming weeks at locations throughout the community.
This project was coordinated in conjunction with the Wheeling Civil War 150 Committee and the Friends of Wheeling. It was funded in part by the West Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp.
Wheeling-based firm Wall2Wall Innovations designed and programmed the application.