This is Bears Ears is divided into three chapters: the story of the peoples who live there, the sporting that attracts new visitors, and the call to action to defend its historic designation.
To fully immerse the viewer in the imagery and stories, we designed a minimal user interface that recedes when not in use. This design allows the natural beauty of Bears Ears to shine through and serves as a subtle complement to the vivid videography, imagery, and iconography we used.
The 360VR stories are an essential component of the site experience, allowing viewers to explore cultural relics or adventure on the beautiful mesas in full effect. By using Google technology for the mapping and VR, we were able to transition amazing bird’s eye views into awesome VR escapes.
Knowing that most people would be viewing the site on their phones, we paid careful attention to create an elegant mobile experience. We leveraged onboard mobile hardware like the gyroscope and motion detection to give users a complete VR experience no matter where they were or what device they were using.
Google was another great partner on this project, so we made use of Google APIs as much as possible. We utilized the YouTube API for video to take advantage of their unmatched quality detection and streaming support. To enable VR functionality within the player, we included a video.js extension that maps the 360 video onto a sphere inside WebGL, giving the user control of the camera through gyroscope movements.
The Google Maps APIs provided standard satellite view for the map-based navigation and custom tiles for the large panorama of the petroglyph wall. Finally, we also used a custom Google Earth tool to create hi-res video fly-ins to each location, giving viewers the sensation of arrival at Bears Ears.