Virtual Reality App Shows Impact of Climate Change

City of San Francisco and Climate Access VR app shows how rising sea levels could affect some San Francisco landmarks.

According to many scientists, climate change is one of the most serious issues facing the planet. However, the science behind climate studies is complex, and can be difficult for the general public to come to grips with. Scientists have turned to virtual reality (VR) to show how climate change will directly impact the city of San Francisco.

Climate change and the melting of the polar ice caps could cause a catastrophic rise in seas levels across the globe. To bring this idea home to the public, a new campaign uses an app called Look Ahead – San Francisco is using VR to show some of the city’s most iconic locations underwater. The app will show the Embarcadero, Mission Creek and Heron’s Head Park as they would be impacted by rising sea levels, as well as how some possible climate solutions could benefit those same locations.

Look Ahead – San Francisco was developed as a partnership between the City and County of San Francisco and non-profit group Climate Access. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, where users can take 360-degree tours of the selected areas as they would be affected by climate change. The app also provides information on how to reduce flooding risk, cutting carbon emissions and switching to renewable energy supplies.

“The launch of the Look Ahead SF campaign and virtual reality app provides a new way for our City to raise awareness about future sea level rise and involve community members in efforts to increase our resilience and meet our climate action goals,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee.

“Virtual reality provides a powerful tool for communicating about climate risks and motivating action. The Look Ahead app makes it easy to understand what’s at stake and what’s possible, and for San Franciscans to share their opinions and get involved.” commented Cara Pike, Climate Access.

VRFocus will continue to report on new and innovative uses of VR and 360-degree technologies.

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