For Immediate Release: 05/04/11
Civil War Trust, Virginia Department of Transportation Debut GPS-Enabled Tour of Fredericksburg Battlefield
Second installment in “Battle App” series provides visitors with a cutting-edge way to visit the entire December 1862 battlefield
(Washington, D.C.) –The Civil War Trust and the Virginia Department of Transportation are pleased to announce the launch of the second “Battle App” offering for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The Civil War Trust Battle App offerings leverage the native GPS capability of the iPhone to provide visitors with precise locations and rich, location-based, historical information. The Fredericksburg Battle App, which features four battlefield tours which range from the streets to Fredericksburg to Marye’s Heights, was created in partnership with NeoTreks, Inc., an industry leader in mobile GPS-enabled touring.
“Whether your interest lies in the fabled assault on Marye’s Heights, the fierce fighting on Prospect Hill and the Slaughter Pen Farm or the experience of a town under siege from enemy bombardment, this unique battlefield touring guide will let you explore the every aspect of the Fredericksburg Battlefield’s rich landscape with confidence,” said Civil War Trust president Jim Lighthizer.
The project was made possible, in part, 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.
“Virginia is home to more significant Civil War sites than any other state, making it a top destination for heritage tourists exploring the events that took place 150 years ago,” said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton, who joined Lighthizer at the news conference. “The Virginia Department of Transportation is glad to provide visitors with this software to help them explore and learn about our history.”
Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell agreed, noting “The Civil War sesquicentennial is an ideal time to explore our state’s history in greater depth. Projects like this are exceptional in their ability to bring history alive for modern audiences by putting the experiences of the past, quite literally, at our finger tips.”
The Battle App features four individual GPS-guided battlefield tours that cover the entire battlefield — the Fight for the Town, The Union Attack Begins, Marye’s Heights and Prospect Hill — with numerous “virtual signs” and other 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.
“This new technology will allow visitors to explore the Fredericksburg Battlefield in greater depth than ever before,” said Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park superintendent Russ Smith. “The multi-media platform provides a wealth of information along with the convenience of personalizing the experience to your own interests, while still benefitting from the expertise of top historians.”
Karen Hedelt, director of the City of Fredericksburg’s department of economic development and tourism emphasized that the tour transcends National Park boundaries and includes the urban fighting that was a unique aspect of the battle. “Heritage tourists flock to Fredericksburg for the experience of being immersed in our nation’s history. This dynamic resource will offer another exciting way to make the past come alive for visitors of all ages.”
In addition to providing a wealth of location-based historical accounts, the Fredericksburg Battle App also contains a wealth of 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, a quiz, and a strategic overview are all a part of this rich offering.
The Fredericksburg Battle App can be easily downloaded from one’s iPhone or iPod Touch via Apple’s App Store. Once downloaded to your iPhone or iPod Touch, one can then decide whether they would like to further 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.
“Working on this project provided us a unique opportunity to apply cutting-edge twenty-first-century technology towards the goal of making nineteenth-century history more accessible,” said Michael Bullock, president of NeoTreks, Inc. “With the Fredericksburg Battle App, visitors now have the past at their fingertips like never before."
The Civil War Trust is working to develop even more Battle App offerings in the coming months and years. Future Battle Apps are likely to include popular battlefields such at Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Malvern Hill, Franklin, Cedar Creek, The Wilderness, Petersburg, and Shiloh. Further product improvements and platform expansions are also being actively considered.
For more information about the content, use and availability of GPS-enable Civil War Trust Battle Apps, please visit www.civilwar.org/battleapp.
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 sesquicentennial.