Posted by: ed | March 24, 2009

Go for a virtual tour of Kinneil

A FRIENDS of Kinneil member has launched a new internet site, allowing people to have a virtual “walk” around Kinneil Estate and neighbouring Bo’ness.

Stuart McMartin was one of the founding members of the Bo’ness charity. His Woodland Explorer uses satellite mapping and photography to help you explore areas from the comfort of your own home.

With the similar Google Street View not available for Bo’ness – this gives people a great way to enjoy a virtual tour.

Try the site now and let Stuart know what you think. His email is: stuart.mcmartin@parthiansystems.co.uk

Stuart says: “The website makes use of mapping and a photographic network to create a Virtual Tour of woodlands and local tourism opportunities. Most of the site is up and running but I need more testing and hopefully some testimonials indicating positive responses to the project.

“I have demonstrated the site to staff at Falkirk Council Community Planning. The ‘coal face’ staff are very positive generally indicating that it is potentially a better tool for promoting local tourism and healthy walks in greenspaces than anything else they have available (by a long way). The senior staff appear to be very nervous about the capability for members of the community to post their own comments to the site. I believe they fear misuse by a minority (even 1 person). Given that the site has two distinct capabilities – Virtual Tours and Points of Interest Comments I feel I should be able to persuade them that they can launch with the former but leave the community feedback initially only for council and known organisation communications (such as Friends of Kinneil).

“This will make sense when you have a go.

“My website is

http://www.parthiansystems.co.uk/ Click on Woodland Explorer to get to the application. Please be patient – it is very complex and requires broadband (probably) and is also best viewed on Internet Explorer. If you do not know what browser you have; you have Internet Explorer.

“The direct link is
http://www.parthiansystems.co.uk/crunched/SamplePage.html

“Click on the Explore Kinneil button and wait 10-20 seconds – don’t click it again. The little hourglass icon should work but doesn’t. All the data comes from a Server in Fort Worth Texas.

“Use the green buttons which will magically appear in order to move around the woods. Hover over the icons on the map to see information. Try and find the videos of the steam trains (hint: near the railway tracks 😉  ).

“You can also turn out of the woods (from near the start) or escape onto the Snab and head off to town. Take a look at the Sculpture park and maybe pay a visit to the Library. Can you find the opening hours of the public toilets? You can scroll around the map using the Right Mouse button. Most of the Blue-Cross icons are Start From Here buttons to start exploring from somwhere else.
There are a few faults with the pictures but you should be able to cope.

“Take a look at the other features (click on the gold banners – the special effect is called an Accordion). There are lots of buttons to play with in Points of Interest. Try Show/Hide Comments to get started. You can use the mouse scrollwheel to zoom in/out of the map (or the controls in the top-left of the map).

“Please email me if you get stuck, don’t get stuck, get inspired, want to say something nice or something nasty! Please email or call. I need feedback on who uses it and what they think. stuart.mcmartin@parthiansystems.co.uk

“I have invested somewhere between 1600 and 2000 hours in this over a year more or less full time. Often 10+ hours per day, 6-7 days a week.
Please spend 10-20 minutes having a look and email me to let me know what you think. Even a short note of thanks or something.

“My plan is to get funding to complete the project and eventually create similar Virtual Tours of other local communities where regeneration is ongoing. Think of this as a way of communicating the good things that are happening; an antidote to bad news: Happy Mapping!”

To find out more about The Friends of Kinneil – and how to join – visit www.kinneil.org.uk/friends

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