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VR technology has the potential to map sacred sites

Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation members Erica Ngurruwuthun, David Bidingal and Charlie Ramandjarri test out the virtual reality technology at CDU.  Virtual reality image courtesy of Injalak Arts.
Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation members Erica Ngurruwuthun, David Bidingal and Charlie Ramandjarri test out the virtual reality technology at CDU. Virtual reality image courtesy of Injalak Arts.

Indigenous rangers are exploring the possibilities of using state-of-the-art virtual reality technology at Charles Darwin University to help them map sacred sites across the Northern Territory. 

Rangers from Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation and Njanjma Aboriginal Corporation visited CDU’s Casuarina campus last month to experience how the technology could assist them with their duties across central and western Arnhem Land. 

CDU Innovative Media Production Studio Multimedia Developer Will Tinapple said the technology had the potential to be extremely useful for the rangers. 

“The rangers were keen to explore the possibilities of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and see what others are doing in the space,” Mr Tinapple said.  

“We had a look at some different 360 mapping of cultural sites done by groups in other areas. 

“The rangers do a range of data collection, recording and mapping and the possibilities for representation in the 360, VR and AR space are quite exciting. 

“We have been building VR down at the Innovative Media Production Studio for students going bush for the first time and the rangers were also testing this and giving feedback.” 

Arafura Swamp Rangers member Erica Ngurruwuthun said using the VR and AR goggles was an interesting experience. 

“It’s been great to try out the technology and see something different,” she said. 

The rangers also toured CDU’s horticulture and aquaculture facilities during their visit and took part in a 3D printing demonstration.