God’s Lake Narrows is an interactive photo essay that uses your location, data on Canadian aboriginal reserves and unique access to a community, to challenge our assumptions about reserves.
Originally inspired by a photography installation called RESERVE(d), the God’s Lake Narrows interactive project was created and written by the talented team of Winnipeg artist Kevin Lee Burton and NFB producer Alicia Smith.
My involvement in the project included Flash Actionscript programming, typographic layout, UI design, integration with the NFB framework, and deployment to the NFB production servers.
This was one of those projects that’s deceptively simple at first glance, but was the result of a lot of thought put into the details to allow it to robustly handle edge cases and give it that extra bit of polish that is often missed when rushing a project to hit a deadline.
There are over 3000 reserves in Canada. Thanks to data provided by Natural Resources Canada, we were able to give the audience an idea of where each of these reserves were located during the preloading sequence. A cylindrical projection was used to map latitude and longitude to cartesian coordinates.
The intro sets up the story by relating the location of God’s Lake Narrows to the audience with dynamically-generated text. Behind the scenes we’re using a GeoIP service to determine the visitor’s location based on their IP address. Using the haversine formula, the distance between the visitor and God’s Lake Narrow’s is calculated and integrated into the writing.
God’s Lake Narrows was launched June 2011 and received a a Webby Award for Best Use of Photography
- 2012 Webby Award Nomination – Individual Episode – Online Film and Video
The project succeeds in portraying life in a tiny rural community from the point-of-view of a creator from the community. It was important not to have somebody from another community come in and tell their story. For an interactive photo essay, it gets a lot of traffic and received a good amount of media attention, exposing God’s Lake Narrows to the world.