Thursday, April 28, 2011

3D Apps Thrust Westminster Abbey, Royals into Modern Age


The fanfare surrounding the royal wedding has led the venerable Westminster Abbey into the tech age. Here's a look at the high-tech gadgetry surrounding the festivities:

Abbey 3D

Westminster Abbey released the Abbey 3D app (price: £2.99/$4.99) to Apple iTunes users with the iTouch or an iPhone and will shortly release the same to the Android Marketplace for Android phone users. The app features a stellar 3D journey through the Abbey. You can choose to do a full flyover or tap your way from one section of Westminster Abbey to the other.

As you progress through the church you can tap on additional points of interest. Each tap will reveal a close-up image of a particular landmark along with a text-based descriptions. With some landmarks, the details are particularly clear even on the smaller screens of an iTouch or iPhone. The image of the Grave of the Unknown Warrior is completely readable on the screen without magnification.

The fact that you can read it without magnification is great because the app does not allow for pinch and pull zoom-ins and zoom-outs. In terms of a plus, the app is a quick load. Another great point is the fact that the app will load where you left off even if your iPhone goes to sleep or if you switch to reading your email or other content.

Google 3D Tour

While Westminster Abbey did not influence Google's decision to create a Google Maps 3D tour of the procession route that progresses from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace, it certainly benefits from the feature. Westminster Abbey is as equally stunning in this feature as it is in the iTunes app, but here you can see the images on a full-size computer monitor and still view the Abbey with complete clarity.

Both the Google 3D tour and the Abbey 3D app have an historical and educational value related to the Abbey and other London landmarks that will extend long beyond the royal wedding.

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