Explore the megaliths of Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice in this augmented reality experience created for National Geographic Instagram users.
In May 1922, National Geographic magazine published a cutting-edge photo of the Stonehenge megaliths. One hundred years later, they returned to Salisbury Plain to document how the site had changed, this time using photogrammetry to stitch 7000 high-resolution photos of the stones into a highly detailed photo-real 3D model. To help National Geographic magazine promote their upcoming article on Stonehenge, we transformed their model into an interactive, immersive experience tailored toward social media users. Using Spark AR — an augmented reality toolkit — we crafted the Stonehenge AR filter, where users can walk among the megaliths in photo-real glory and experience the site throughout the course of the summer solstice, a day when the unknown properties of Stonehenge are most mysterious.
From National Geographic’s Instagram page, users can place the iconic rocks in their real-world environment. A bedroom. A backyard. A park. The sauna if that’s their thing. Then the fun begins. They arrive at sunrise, where they can see the time of day indicated on their screen. By pushing forwards and backwards through time, users watch the shadows cast by the rocks evolve and extend past the model. AR magic also allows them to experience Stonehenge in unforgettable ways not possible in person, such as the ability to scale the megaliths to any size and open short, fascinating captions about the site’s history. As an added immersive delight tailored specifically to social media, users can also flip their cameras and see themselves at the iconic view of summer solstice, in view of the Heel Stone. They can take a selfie. Take many selfies. With the Stonehenge AR filter, National Geographic fans can explore the megaliths and experience the site like never before.