UT virtual tour unique in Europe shows the way around campus
From now on, it should be much easier for students, guests of the university, inhabitants of Tartu, tourists and others to find their way in Tartu as a university town. The University of Tartu launched an innovative virtual tour that gives an overview of the modern study buildings and shows where they are located on the map. The tour also includes study-related buildings in Pärnu, Viljandi, Tallinn and Narva. Have a closer look at virtualtour.ut.ee.
Kärt Viilup, Specialist for International Marketing of the University of Tartu and author of the idea of the virtual tour, said that she got the idea while speaking to international students who emphasised the beautiful study buildings of the University of Tartu.
“As Tartu itself is a large campus and finding one’s way between the study buildings and the distances may seem daunting at first, the virtual tour aims to show how compact Tartu really is. Using the virtual tour will definitely make it easier for both domestic and international students to quickly settle in our modern university town and will introduce the University of Tartu to the visitors of the city,” said Viilup.
The virtual tour shows the locations of study buildings and gives the user additional information about the buildings, including the library, the student residences and sports facilities. The tour also helps to plan your way in Tartu, as it shows the distances between study buildings. The virtual tour allows discovering the buildings in several ways: using the 360-degree view, video, photos or the floor plan. It also shows how far a particular building is from various places in Tartu.
Helari Palmiste who represents the Redwall Digital team that developed the virtual tour said that this virtual tour is a unique application in Estonia, as nothing similar has been created before.
“Wonderful aero photos were ordered for the virtual tour and to take the photos, a special permit was needed to fly in Narva, as it is the border zone. In the application, we joined the layers of the map, photos and detailed information, creating an engaging experience for the user,” described Palmiste. According to Palmiste, all users of the virtual tour, locals and foreigners alike, will immediately see that Estonia is a place with a rich history and a very beautiful nature, conveniently short distances and a modern study environment.
The application can also quickly calculate distances between cities. “If you click on ‘Pärnu’ in the menu bar at the top of the page, the application takes you to the map of Pärnu and immediately recalculates the distance to other cities,” said Viilup, adding that the application also shows the direction in which the other cities are located.
Viilup expressed hope that in the near future, the virtual tour also includes 360-degree views of laboratories: “For instance, should we open a new study building or a student residence in the future, we can easily add these to the map.” The virtual tour will be also developed further on the basis of feedback.
The creators of the virtual tour said that they also looked for similar applications used among the universities of continental Europe, but did not find any comparable solutions. “If any, only virtual tours offering 360-degree views were used. More innovative solutions similar to the newly created UT virtual tour are rather used at the universities of the USA, the UK and Australia,” said Viilup, adding that the UT virtual tour is unique among the universities of our region.
The application is based on the Wordpress web publishing software. The opportunities to show galleries, videos and the virtual tour were linked to the Google maps application.
Take the virtual tour on virtualtour.ut.ee.
Developement of virtual tour is supported by European Social Fund’s Doctoral Studies and Internationalisation Programme DoRa, which is carried out by Foundation Archimedes.
Additional information: Kärt Viilup, UT Specialist for International Marketing, author of the idea of the virtual tour, tel: +372 5557 5529, email: kart.viilup [ät] ut.ee.