For Immediate Release: 07/11/11
Civil War Trust Debuts GPS-Enabled Tour of First Manassas for 150th Anniversary
The GPS-enabled “Bull Run Battle App” enables visitors to explore the fighting at First Manassas like never before
(Washington, D.C.) – With the nation poised to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas, the Civil War Trust and the Virginia Department of Transportation today unveiled a dynamic new way to explore the history of that iconic battleground. Available on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, the “Bull Run Battle App” uses GPS technology to provide visitors with precise, location-based historical information. The Bull Run Battle App was created in partnership with NeoTreks, Inc., an industry leader in mobile GPS-enabled touring.
“Whether you have toured the battlefield a dozen times or are making your first visit to mark the 150th anniversary, this unique product will enhance your experience,” said Civil War Trust president James Lighthizer. “Our ‘Bull Run Battle App’ uses 21st century technology to bring 19th century history alive like never before.”
Like its predecessors, which explore the battles of Gettysburg and Fredericksburg, the new Battle App includes video segments from top historians, period and modern imagery, and detailed topographical maps that help bring the battlefield to life. Improved onboard battle animations and customizable troop displays allow one to stand where the two armies stood and to learn how their attacks and counterattacks unfolded. Featuring both primary source material and the commentary of respected historians, the “Bull Run Battle App” offers the convenience of a self-guided tour and the expertise of an expert-led exploration.
The project was made possible through the cooperation and generous support of the Virginia Department of Transportation. As the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War continues, VDOT has committed to help underwrite further Battle Apps that encourage residents and visitors alike to explore the Commonwealth’s outstanding historic resources.
“As we mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we are reminded of the important role Virginia played in that conflict,” said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. “The Virginia Department of Transportation welcomes the opportunity to assist visitors to the Old Dominion in exploring our rich history.”
John Stirrup, who represents the Gainesville district on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors concurred, saying that “Manassas National Battlefield and related historic sites are valuable assets for our region, attracting heritage tourists, providing valuable open space and serving as outdoor classrooms. By using technology to enhance their appeal, we will help make them increasingly relevant to a new generation.”
“With audio and video resources at your fingertips, this Battle App will allow visitors to explore the Battle of First Manassas in great detail and with more freedom than ever before,” said Manassas National Battlefield Park superintendent Ed Clark, one of the guides who appear in the app. “It offers the convenience of personalizing a tour experience to your own interests, while still benefitting from the expertise of knowledgeable historians.”
Another key feature of the Trust’s Battle Apps is their ability to include the entire battlefield, not just its most well-travelled paths. While the well-known fighting on Henry House Hill is covered in depth, visitors are also invited to explore more far-flung sites at Pittsylvania, Portici and Sudley Springs Ford.
The “Bull Run Battle App” features a 13-stop GPS-guided tour with “virtual signs” and additional points of interest that can be accessed with a few simple clicks. Each stop along the way contains a rich description of the historical significance of the site, along with photos, video commentary from battlefield experts and audio accounts from the soldiers and civilians who trod this ground during the Civil War. With each product in the series, the Trust strives to take advantage of the latest technological advances, allowing the “Bull Run Battle App” to include two mini animated maps complete with narration and “pinch-zoom” maps, while taking advantage of the increased resolution capabilities of newer mobile devices.
Ann Marie Mahr, executive director of Discover Prince William and Manassas, a regional destination marketing organization, also noted a feature making its debut in the “Bull Run Battle App” — a listing of other nearby attractions of potential interest to the heritage tourist touring the battlefield.
“By providing links to related sites and placing them on a regional map, this product is providing context for their relationship to the Manassas Battlefield,” she said. “Our region is rich with historic sites and points of interest and this dynamic resource will help visitors of all ages explore the full range of opportunities.”
In addition to providing a wealth of location-based historical accounts, the “Bull Run Battle App” also contains a resource material that will answer many questions that visitors to the battlefield have. Complete orders of battle for the two armies, a chronology of the battle, basic facts, an interactive quiz, and a strategic overview are all a part of this rich offering.
All items in the Trust’s Battle App series can be easily downloaded from one’s mobile device via Apple’s App Store. While the product is optimized for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it will also work on the iPad. Once the basic app is installed, one can then chose to fully download the audio and video elements of the Battle App or to have that media streamed to you as you visit the different historical sites.
The Civil War Trust is working to develop even more Battle App offerings in the coming months and years. Next in the development pipeline are Battle Apps for the Chancellorsville and Malvern Hill battlefields. Further product improvements and expansions into other mobile platforms are being actively pursued.
For more information about the content, use and availability of GPS-enable Civil War Trust Battle Apps, please visit www.civilwar.org/battleapps.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.