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City of Santa Cruz to Launch Virtual Reality Sea Level Rise Explorer at Downtown Library Branch

Post Date:11/20/2019 7:35 PM

Contact: Dr. Tiffany Wise-West, Climate Action Program (831) 420-5433

City of Santa Cruz to Launch Virtual Reality Sea Level Rise Explorer at Downtown Library Branch

The City of Santa Cruz is pleased to announce it will launch a Virtual Reality Sea Level Rise Explorer exhibit at the downtown public library branch at 224 Church Street on November 18, 2019. The exhibit includes Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets, informational panels and fact sheets at an activity station positioned at the library’s entrance across from the service desk. The exhibit is funded by the American Geophysicist’s Union and supplements a Coastal Commission grant supporting a portion of the community engagement for the Resilient Coast Santa Cruz Initiative. The Resilient Coast Santa Cruz Initiative is a set of projects that aim to develop a community vision for resilient coastal management in the face of climate change and its impacts.

Developed by local start up Virtual Planet Technologies, with support from Swan Dive Media, the Sea Level Rise Explorer is the first of its kind virtual reality experience, immersing users in modeled representations of how sea level rise impacts, such as coastal flooding and coastal erosion, might affect the beaches and bluffs in Santa Cruz. The application also provides common potential adaptation solutions to address such issues.
According to Sustainability and Climate Action Manager Dr. Tiffany Wise-West, “The intent of the project is to translate sea level rise science and planning that is happening through the Resilient Coast Santa Cruz Initiative’s projects into a relevant and impactful experience for residents and visitors.”

Future versions of the application will be available as a free download at the Oculus Go Store and as a free mobile phone application. It will include embedded surveys for users to indicate their adaptation solutions preferences and the City to assess awareness on this important issue. Virtual Planet Technologies co-founder Dr. Juliano Calil commented, “We hope this project will be a great example of how our technology solutions can help coastal communities better understand the challenges they face so that they can consider adaptation measures that represent their community values and priorities.”

The exhibit will be free and open to the public on Monday, November 18, 2019 and run throughthe end of February 2020 during normal library hours. It is available in both Spanish and English.

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