Look Around ANU with a new app

16 May 2014

A new 360-degree virtual experience of popular spots around the University campus is now available for iPhone and iPad users.

The new visual app, called Look Around ANU, gives those who haven’t visited the campus a chance to see some of its scenic surroundings.

Ashley Zmijewski from the ANU Marketing Office says the app was designed with prospective interstate and international students in mind.

He says when prospective students visited the campus to experience the environment, their visit tended to help them choose ANU as a place to study. So if a student couldn’t come to campus, the app would bring the campus to them.

“Being at our unique campus is a very important decision-making process for them,” Ashley says.

“For students who can’t come to the Open Day or any other activities we have, we created an immersive experience that would at least give them a feeling of what it’s like from their own home, but something that was more than just standard pictures.”

The images showcase the entire campus environment as well as the buildings.

“It’d be probably very useful for people who have come to Canberra on school excursions once when they were in year 6 and all they remember is Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin,” he says.

“So it’s intended for the undergraduate market, mostly out of Canberra, but also potential graduate students, staff members and visitors to ACT.”

Ashley says the new app can also allow students, who travel home for the holidays, to show their families what their campus looks like.

Each 360 degree image, taken by the University’s photographer Stuart Hay, was taken using a special lens, which can then be rotated up to 360 degrees. The effect gives a virtual tour, as if the viewer is actually on campus, looking at the locations.

“We’ve picked a number of different points from around the University that we know are popular and that people want to see,” he says.

“When you tap on the image, it essentially pulls up that image into the iPad and then by physically moving around or spinning around in your chair, you can move around the image and get a complete 360 degree view of that space.”

On Campus asked some students on Fellows Oval about their thoughts on the new app.

Arts student Camilla Patini says it’s useful for new students in finding their bearings.

“[If I was looking at my study options now] I think it would definitely influence my decision because if I wanted to study on campus, there would be certain things I’d look for – if it was green, what kind of infrastructure or what the buildings look like,” Patini says.

Law student Siman Ismail says the app would benefit those living overseas the most.

“They don’t get to come and have a look on the campus and it gives a better idea of how it would look,” the 24-year-old says.

“I’m an international student so it would have been good if I had something like this before I came here, because I literally had no idea – there are photos obviously. But photos only show so much.”

Zmijewski says the app will be upgraded to reflect Canberra’s four distinct seasons, although the current images were taken over the past Summer.

“We’ll run this app all the way through to our ANU Open Day on 30 August and then use the results as a guide to developing a second component and upgrade of the app,” he says.

Download the app via the itunes store.