Demonstration of the Virtual Field Trip

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Demonstration of the Virtual Field Trip tool

This is a transcript of a QuickTime movie (13.5 MB) recorded at the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre in 2006 when Carol Oliver, from the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, demonstrated the Virtual Field Trip tool for high school students.


Now in this tool you’re going to actually be able to explore the Pilbara for yourself, it’s virtual reality, not the kind where you put your goggles on but nevertheless you’re going to be able to do this. We’ll visit the Trendall locality to begin with and you’ll note that there are areas around here that are not highlighted. The Atacama Desert is being done right now but it’s not there. These other ones will be done. So just these three are available at the moment. So you can choose any one you like but I’m just going to choose this one. And see it goes in through World Wind and into the Trendall locality and off-centre there go to North Shaw, across the dry Shaw River to the Trendall locality. Then once it’s settled you click Explore so you get these little symbols up like that. Now there are two keys on the keyboard, Shift and Control, which allow you to zoom in and out. You hold the left hand side down of your mouse so you can move around like this, okay? But you can zoom in or out, even when you’re moving okay? The little VR symbols allow you to move around about a kilometre or so, actually a couple of kilometres maybe, at each location. You’ll need your headphones because there are videos all around. You can click on these. You’ll also see little picture symbols as well. I’ll just get this one up and you can listen to that while you’re still moving. You don’t have to wait for this person to stop, you can listen to it while you’re still moving around and up there. So you get the idea that you can do this, you can move around the countryside as you want to. Just find those little blue symbols. We’ll go over there to camp and this is three hundred and sixty degrees so you can look up and you can look, sorry down and up into the trees, okay? So it’s all around, okay?

You’ll find another button here in which you can find more information but it’s not three hundred and sixty degrees, it’s just a linear program so just scroll back and hands-off it will go through each one until you want to stop it, all right?

So let’s get back to Explore. While she’s talking, you can’t hear that because I’ve put it on low, you can hit this next one called Access online database and this takes you to a wiki website. Now on this you might hear a word that you want to search for. You might want to search for more information on a stromatolite. So whatever it is, just put it in there, hit search, you’ve still got the VFT running in the background, and you can see where you can find all that kind of information with links to it, all right? So you can search for information that way.

You’ll also find all of the NASA tools on this website when you’re at home so you can download those from there if you’re connected to the internet. They’re all free and the only thing is they’re very large downloads and the best way to get them is by DVD, except for World Wind, which is a 60 MB download and then it unwinds into about half a gig.

There’s also a glossary in here that’s being built, some of the video resources, or in fact all of them will be there when we’ve finished this but for the moment there are video resources there. You can actually download the video. You don’t need to do that here but you can do that at home. But you can actually look at the transcripts as well and if you can’t hear the words or if you want to see as you’re hearing it you can look at that. And if there had been any words here that we didn’t think you could understand there would be a glossary for it. You can also explore this site going like this. It tells you more information about it, the Schopf locality. There’s a lot of information on this wiki website,okay?

Let’s go back to the VFT down in here. When you’re ready to explore another location, don’t worry these two over here. That will just lead you to other areas so don’t ouch these ones. Visit another location and you get to choose another location, okay? So I’ll just choose one because I want to go somewhere else and it takes you down again through the Pilbara. And this is another location, the Dresser formation. When we get to the Virtual Lab we’ll be looking at a sample from this area. And again, once it goes to pictures you can just hit Explore and you’re off again into the hills. You just wander around and you see up there you can get into a whole heap of VRs. There’s one in particular you should look for up in the sky. It takes you to the other side of that hill, okay, and you can go all around the countryside, all right?

Now I want to go back to here. Before I let you loose on the Virtual Field trip there is one little video that I want to show you and that’s Stromatolite Explorer. It’s just a very short video, just to give you a little bit more background about what a stromatolite is. I’ve shown you here in rock form. Now I want to show you it in the modern day form, in the form of a little almost cartoon movie. So I’ll just get that going.

The Stromatolite Explorer video can be accessed at




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