This collaboratory addressed the dual issues of a disjointed Los Angeles and a declining local press by working in partnership with the L.A. Times to create a mobile app for delivering immersive journalism. Students in this collaboratory explored ways to tell newsrooms stories using augmented reality, focusing, in particular, on large-scale environmental reports (e.g. stories about floods, hurricanes or fires) that when read, are often hard to visualize. In designing the mobile app, students experimented with, and prototyped, a method for using augmented reality as a way to move a user through a news event, or series of events, as if they were experiencing it in real-time.
Students in the Mapping and App-ing Los Angeles collaboratory conceived, designed, and coded an augmented realty app that tells the story of the destructive California Camp Fire by utilizing data and media assets provided by the L.A. Times. The Camp Fire app takes viewers through several sequential scenes: a 3D AR map controlled by an interactive timeline, displaying the spread of the fire over seventeen days; a gamified scenario in which users must rush to choose pets and household items that are overlaid on their existing environment (via their phone’s camera) before it catches on fire; and a clickable 3D gallery of Camp Fire victims.