Inspiring Reverence for the Natural World with Technology
Augmented reality, a technology for mobile devices that superimposes images and audio over the user’s surroundings, is one of the hottest new developments in mobile media. Developers are scrambling to design new augmented reality applications, using this amazingly immersive, interactive tool for entertainment, education, social media...you name it!
But can this hyper-modern, cutting-edge augmented reality technology also help save ancient indigenous sacred sites, and inspire reverence for the natural world? We sure think so.
In partnership with Devils Tower National Monument, Paige Saez and Anselm Hook of Maker-Lab, our non-profit media company, Sacred Land Film Project (SLFP), is developing an interactive multimedia tour for mobile devices and web-based applications called Finding Sacred Ground, a global transmedia experience that will use locative GPS technology and augmented reality to raise awareness of native peoples and their traditional lands by revealing the hidden history of a place and its indigenous caretakers. Narrated by native elders and storytellers, this transmedia project will leverage story, multimedia, song and augmented reality in unique combination to transform the user’s perspective of the land and his or her vital role in protecting it.
Stage one of our project is to create a pilot audio Finding Sacred Ground app for iPhone. We have a plan for the app, we have the media content...we just need $4,500 to pay for a mobile phone application developer to tie it all together for us.
Your contribution will make this happen!
With your help, we can create an educational and entertaining tour application that will have something for everyone. Our application for mobile platforms that we are raising funds for here is the first phase of the project. When complete, it will provide on-site users with an audio-only interactive tour. In Phase II video will be added, and Phase III we'll add augmented reality. Once Finding Sacred Ground is fully realized, the completed version of the tour with all augmented reality features will be available for both on-site and remote users, on multiple platforms, including a web-based tour using Google Earth that will simulate the location based experience for users who can’t visit the sites in person. Both tours will be designed in partnership with indigenous communities, giving them a new way to document the location of their sacred sites and tell their stories to the world.
The first version of the mobile application will be designed for iPhone, but pending additional funding, we hope to develop a similar application for Android.
How will your donation be used?
Your pledge will support the development of a pilot audio-only Finding Sacred Ground mobile device tour for Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. A popular tourist destination and cinematic icon from Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, this unique and beautiful geological feature is part of the National Park system, and is also a deeply significant indigenous sacred site known to Native Americans as Mato Tipila, “the Lodge of the Bear”.
Once the pilot is launched, users of Finding Sacred Ground will be able to access the tour as they walk the trail around the monolith. At key stops their mobile phone will vibrate, at which point the user can engage the application to learn about the indigenous history of Devils Tower. For example, at one stop users could use their phones to hear a Lakota elder relate his tribe’s story of the origin of Devils Tower, where the Tower grew into existence to save six girls from an angry bear. In the final mobile phone version, through augmented reality technology, the user could also choose to see images from the story superimposed over the Tower, showing how the six girls became stars, visible through the phone as the Pleiades constellation overhead. Additional narrative and video will feature similar native legends, descriptions of traditional customs and spiritual practices and native teachings about traditional knowledge of the stars, waters, animals and plants. Our team has already started production of media for the pilot, interviewing native storytellers and plotting GPS points for the locative aspects of the tour with the help of the Park Service and the Rosebud Sioux community.
Check out the video above to learn more about Sacred Land Film Project and see some demos of our mobile app in action. You'll also hear from our partners at the National Park Service, Devils Tower National Monument Superintendent Dorothy FireCloud and Interpretive Park Ranger Caryn Hacker, who are working with us to develop the application. Dorothy and Caryn, who are both enrolled members of the Lakota nation (for whom the Tower is of great spiritual significance), talk about what the tour means for them and for future visitors to Devils Tower.
Become Part of the Application Production!
1) Donate to the project if you can (any contribution will help towards reachin our goal.) Encourage your friends to do the same! 2) Post our Kickstarter page on Facebook/blogs/websites/newsletters. Help us spread the word!
3) We would also be appreciative of any opportunities for press coverage of our kickstarter campaign and the app — please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 4) Do you have iPhone (or Android) development skills you would like to volunteer for this project? Let us know: email@example.com
5) Please visit our website to learn more about how you can help protect indigenous communities and the vulnerable ecosystems they rely on, and about Sacred Land Film Project’s other works-in-progress, including our upcoming documentary about the movement to protect indigenous traditional lands around the world, called Losing Sacred Ground.
We thank you in advance for your donation. Please spread the word to your friends, family, or colleagues even if you can’t make a pledge! Please visit our blog to see the growing list of foundations and supporters we currently have on board. If you have any questions at all, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more on our website.
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