To make visits to the One World Trade Center Observation Deck in Lower Manhattan even more personally enriching and interactive for visitors from across the globe, Haneke Design was asked to create a unique, interactive iPad experience for guests and a profitable offering for the client.

The Requirement

The One World Observatory Explorer iPad application would be one of Haneke Design’s most challenging app development projects to date. It had to be embraced by an extremely diverse group of visitors of all ages, interests, education, and language backgrounds; during the day and at night; and provide a 360-degree view of the New York City skyline in clear weather, as well as fog, rain, and other poor visibility conditions.

Haneke Design’s task was to create an iPad app that could handle all of these requirements and deliver a highly customizable, immersive experience for each and every user.

Our Solution

The team devised a solution that would give visitors the ability to explore over 40 points of interest as they strolled around the observation deck. A 360 degree panoramic photograph taken from the top of the One World Trade Center became the backdrop for the experience.

As opposed to pure augmented reality, using the pano (shot during peak visibility in early fall) allows visitors to see a pristine view regardless of the weather conditions outside. Adding to the immersive experience, is digital video shot from a helicopter flown from the tower to each of the points of interest.

To create a heightened sensory experience, the Explorer app includes a 3D sound engine capable of providing binaural audio. The sound engine can adjust sounds based on the viewer’s orientation in order to manage and maintain a rich audio landscape within limited device memory.

As the visitor scans the city below with the iPad Explorer app, the app automatically implements an algorithm for accurately calibrating the view in the display with the direction the tablet is pointing, thus maintaining a high level of accuracy.  As points of interest pop up in the frame’s panoramic view, they’re highlighted, and with the tap of a finger, visitors ‘fly’ into the locations for a closer look, via virtual helicopter tours narrated by famed American novelist, Jay McInerney.

The Results

Client Joel Baumwoll, CEO of One World Explorer Productions, was extremely satisfied with the final product. “Haneke Design worked with us from the inception of this project,” he said. “They were good listeners, grasped the task and brought great insights to the design of the program.  Their user interface is excellent, and the application program functions beautifully. They brought creativity and technical expertise to the table at the highest level.  I could not have asked for a better partner on this important and highly visible project than the Haneke team.”
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