IoE founder and National Geographic Explorer Gautam Shah spoke at the National Geographic Explorers Festival in London earlier this year about the importance of connecting audiences with conservation on their own terms.
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What are a game developer and a data scientist doing together in a Bornean rainforest, you might wonder? In the past year and a half, we have been working towards a full Augmented Reality location-based game to support conservation, getting the financing, our team and conservation partnerships in place. The first instalment of the game will feature apes, and how can we create a game about their every-day lives and what it takes to conserve their habitats, without having experienced it ourselves?
Science generates a wealth of data on wildlife for conservation purposes each day. What if we opened up some of that data to tell some of the amazing stories of the wild, and get more support for wildlife conservation? Our new project, Satellite Stories, is an experiment in opening up scientific data to create an engaging interactive product for broader audiences.
Most campaigns to raise funds and awareness for conservation are aimed at Western audiences. But increasingly, the people making a difference to conservation will be living in emerging markets. Our first experiments at IoE have taught us that these audiences are eager, enthusiastic and possibly more engaged than Western audiences.
If you have been following us for a while, you know our big vision project is Safari Central, a location based game that brings real animals from the wild to your world. In the past two years, we’ve prototyped several versions of the game and raised funds through a kickstarter campaign to develop the tech further. So we are super excited to announce that we are now in the process of building the full fledged version of Safari Central, and we are kicking it off exclusively with Great Ape stars.