An innovative project is underway to create a virtual tour of the streetscape and retail premises that will encompass Carrick town centre.
A team of Google Business Photographers is currently shooting in the area and if the initiative can be completed as envisaged, it is likely to be the first time that a town has been captured in this fashion in its entirety.
John M. Lynch, who is the Google Business photographer co-ordinating the project, commented: “As far as I can determine from internal discussions with Google, a project of this scale and level of co-operation has never been undertaken previously and will really put Carrickfergus at the vanguard of this exciting virtual mapping technology.”
Anyone who has experienced Google Streetview will be familiar with the basic concept but this takes the technology a step further and would permit virtual visitors to not only wander through the historic streets but also to enter into the doorways they see to view retail premises and sites of interest.
The scheme is part of the Town Centre Revitalisation funded by Department of Social Development and delivered by Carrickfergus Regeneration Partnership and Carrickfergus Borough Council. It has already seen cosmetic building improvements to the Market Place, Castle Lane, and Lower North Street areas and the virtual tour project is following on behind to shoot each of the premises in their best possible light.
An application for phase two in the West Street area is progressing with a decision from DSD expected imminently.
Robert Stewart, chair of the Regeneration Partnership, said: “The DSD funding has allowed us to offer a basic coverage to every retailer in the first phase Revitalise area. As a result, the uptake has been tremendous and retailers are enthusiastically recognising this unique opportunity to market their own offerings. The global nature of the coverage is important from the point of view that it presents wonderful potential to market our beautiful town as a whole.”
The Mayor, Alderman Billy Ashe, added: “If the end result transpires as anticipated, this will enable Carrickfergus town centre to position itself in a pioneering position as the first town to be shot in such a holistic fashion.”
The challenge subsequent to the Revitalise projects will be to fill in the gaps outside of these funded areas to ensure the virtual tour will cover the entire town centre area and can be used as a resource to promote the borough.