The One World Explorer iPad application is an interactive tablet experience created for visitors to the new One World Trade Center in New York. The One World Observatory, on the 101st floor of the tallest building in the western hemisphere, includes various interactive and innovative technologies, immersing visitors in an informative and engaging environment where they can experience New York City like never before.
Haneke Design was asked to create a unique, interactive iPad experience for guests and a profitable offering for the client. Guests can rent the customized iPads, preloaded with Haneke Design’s application, to orient themselves with the city and take virtual helicopter tours of over 40 New York landmarks.
The One World Observatory Explorer iPad application was one of Haneke Design’s most challenging app development projects to date. It had to be embraced by an extremely diverse group of visitors of all ages, interests, education, and language backgrounds, during the day and at night, and provide a 360-degree view of the New York City skyline in clear weather, as well as fog, rain, and other poor visibility conditions.
“This is by far the most exciting and emotionally meaningful mobile app project we’ve ever created,” said Jody Haneke, president of Haneke Design and a New Jersey native. “It’s an honor for my team and me to have the opportunity to design and develop the One World Explorer app and bring New York City’s skyline and rich history to life for today’s visitors.”
The team devised a solution that would give visitors the ability to explore over 40 points of interest as they strolled around the observation deck.
As opposed to pure augmented reality, using a 360-degree panorama shot during peak visibility allows visitors to see a pristine view, regardless of the weather conditions outside. Adding to the immersive experience is a digital video shot from a helicopter flown from the tower to each of the points of interest.
To create a heightened sensory experience, the Explorer app includes a 3D sound engine capable of providing binaural audio. The sound engine can adjust sounds based on the viewer’s orientation in order to manage and maintain a rich audio landscape within limited device memory.
As the visitor scans the city below with the iPad Explorer app, the app automatically implements an algorithm for accurately calibrating the view in the display with the direction the tablet is pointing, thus maintaining a high level of accuracy. As points of interest pop up in the frame’s panoramic view, they’re highlighted, and with the tap of a finger, visitors ‘fly’ into the locations for a closer look, via virtual helicopter tours narrated by famed American novelist Jay McInerney.
Client Joel Baumwoll, CEO of One World Explorer Productions, was extremely satisfied with the final product. “Haneke Design worked with us from the inception of this project,” he said. “Their user interface is excellent, and the application program functions beautifully. They brought creativity and technical expertise to the table at the highest level. I could not have asked for a better partner on this important and highly visible project than the Haneke team.”
The One World Explorer app can be experienced exclusively at the One World Trade Center Observatory. In the first summer, over 100,000 visitors rented iPads preloaded with the Explorer app for $15, and it continues to be a hit with visitors on top of New York City’s most iconic new building.