On the occasion of the annual Sneak Peak event held in Staten Island's Freshkills Park, October 2nd, 2011, a new augmented reality (AR) application for smartphones is being launched, allowing visitors to navigate and understand features of the site as well as its transformation from landfill to park.
Freshkills Park+ is an experience built with the Layar Browser application and is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Nokia and Blackberry devices.
The app was developed by Carlos J. Gomez de Llarena from New York based media architecture studio Med44 in conjunction with Raj Kottamasu and the Freshkills Park outreach team at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
With the app, visitors can use their device to explore different projects under construction, nearby bodies of water, buildings, bird sanctuaries, activities and panoramic views of the park. Additional videos, photos, sounds and articles related to these sights can be accessed as they walk around the diverse areas of the site. Step-by-step directions to reach any of these locations by foot or bike can also be provided in real time, making it useful for those who want to find their way to the nearest facility or activity in the vast, 2,200-acre landscape.
The former landfill presents a unique challenge for visitors since the installation of foundation-supported signs is prohibited by the presence of vast underground landfill infrastructure. The solution that Freshkills Park+ proposes is a virtual wayfinding system that consists of descriptive icons and texts overlaying the camera view of a user's mobile device. Visitors see only the relevant information based on where the device is pointing, acting like a smart compass that helps them virtually navigate the park.