Chesapeake Conservancy released new virtual tours of Tangier Island and the Pocomoke River. The tours are similar to what people experience with Google Street View but from the perspective of the water rather than the street. Virtual visitors can see the beauty of the Chesapeake and explore these special places from their computer, device, or mobile phone.
This project is part of a much larger and long-standing partnership with the National Park Service to protect and enhance a broad network of conserved lands and special places in the watershed and equitably provide access to recreation, culture, and nature.
The Tangier Island and Pocomoke River virtual tours are part of the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Riverview series, which includes 14 Chesapeake waterways and special places like Mallows Bay – Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, Fones Cliffs on the Rappahannock in Virginia, Baltimore’s Inner-Harbor, Werowocomoco on the York River in Virginia, and more.
“Tangier Island, the Pocomoke River, and their surrounding landscapes are important, not only to the natural beauty of the Chesapeake but to the cultural heritage of the region. Documenting Tangier Island for this and future generations is critical to preserving its history and heritage. Rising sea levels brought on by climate change, combined with the gradual land subsidence and erosion of the island are a major threat to Tangier’s unique culture and history,” said Chesapeake Conservancy Executive Vice President Mark Conway. “We’re also excited to document the 73-mile long pristine Pocomoke River, which is home to the Great Cypress Swamp, hundreds of species of birds, and many preserves and parks.”
“We believe that sharing and connecting people to the special places of the Chesapeake Bay is critical to protecting and restoring the health of the watershed. Our hope is that as people virtually explore both Tangier Island and the Pocomoke and experience their beauty, they will plan in-person visits and further their explorations of the Chesapeake Bay and its many rivers,” said National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent Wendy O’Sullivan of the NPS Chesapeake Bay Office. Superintendent O’Sullivan oversees the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Program, among other duties, which was reauthorized by Congress last week in the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act.
“Pocomoke River and Tangier Sound still retain landscapes and views evocative of the time when the region’s riches sustained Native families in food, supplies, and trade goods. It’s gratifying that, through our partnership with Chesapeake Conservancy, people everywhere can ride along and see these places on the Chesapeake National Historic Trail,” said NPS Superintendent Kym Hall, Colonial National Historical Park and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
“Capturing Tangier Island at a point in time has been on our bucket list for a long time. We hope this imagery will preserve memories of the island far into the future,” said the founder of Terrain360, Ryan Abrahamsen.
Chesapeake Conservancy’s Riverview partner, Terrain360, is a geospatial mapping company based in Richmond, Virginia. Terrain360 utilizes a custom-made boat outfitted with six cameras, mounted 10 feet above the water’s surface which capture 360-degree images. These cameras are controlled by a central computer which also captures GIS data, weather data, light data, and directional data in 40ft. intervals.
The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office provided funding to support the virtual Riverview series. Chesapeake Conservancy has raised private funds and partnered with Terrain360 to collect the imagery, with the exception of the James River which was completed by the James River Association with Terrain360. Visit www.chesapeakeconservancy.org to view all 14 virtual tours and vignettes of special places in the Chesapeake.