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Park Launches New Digital Portal

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

National Park News

The park has launched a San Antonio Missions Digital Portal, a new way to virtually visit the park in both English and Spanish. In addition to the web portal, you can explore the San Antonio Missions in an interactive, self-guided tour app. The app is available for both the iPhone and iPad.

In the spring of 2010, CyArk, a non-profit organization dedicated to digitally preserving cultural heritage sites around the world, collaborated with the NPS on a unique project to digitally preserve San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and share it in an unprecedented way with the local community and general public.

“This project offers the public and educators a new venue to explore the missions in interesting and unique ways,” said Al Remley, a ranger at San Antonio Missions. “The park hopes to spark the imagination of youth across the country to explore our heritage in ways and techniques that are a natural fit for the digital age.”

This project was made possible through an important collaboration between the park, Intermountain Region, Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions, Western National Parks Association, and CyArk. The first phase of the digital preservation project of the five sites in the park included field documentation, during which laser scanning and photography were used to create a highly accurate digital record of the missions.  This state-of-the-art capture technology resulted in highly detailed documentation, with every brick and stone recorded at an accuracy of 5mm.

The digital information gathered during the field documentation phase was then used to create media for physical preservation work, education, and virtual tourism. All of the media created is showcased on CyArk’s website and is being used in the park for the continued preservation of the missions, as well as the creation of educational interactive learning tools and lessons for children.

The web portal features an array of rich multimedia, including interactive, narrated virtual tours of the park and educational activities utilizing 3D models within a Google Earth interface. In addition to content accessible online, the partners collaborated through an educational workshop to produce a collection of lesson plans available for download and use in the classroom.

“CyArk is extremely proud of its partnership with the National Park Service-Intermountain Region, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions in publicly disseminating this fantastic site showcasing the San Antonio Missions,” said Elizabeth Lee, CyArk’s director for projects and development. “We feel that this is a unique and unprecedented window into the Spanish colonial history in the United States.  We are proud to have it within the CyArk archive and are incredibly grateful for our partners’ continuous support.”

The project partners would like to invite the public to explore the San Antonio Mission web portal at archive.cyark.org or download the app at http://itunes.apple.com/app/san-antonio-missions-virtual/id503988712?mt=8. Proceeds from the app will go towards projects benefiting the park.



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