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Tactic's New VR Campaign Shows the Hazardous Effects of Sea Level Rise on San Francisco

Look Ahead was made for environmental group Climate Acccess and shows the destruction that rising sea levels could potentially have on the city

Tactic's New VR Campaign Shows the Hazardous Effects of Sea Level Rise on San Francisco

Working with non-profit Climate Access, Tactic built an app called Look Ahead that reveals what three coastal areas in San Francisco look like today; what they would look like in future with sea level rise on its current trajectory; and what the locations would look like in the future if actions were taken to slow down or stop climate change. The idea is that while there are many signs of climate change often people cannot fully understand the magnitude of something until they see it in their backyard.

As users learn about the effects of local sea level rise, Climate Access learns about the public’s views on climate change. By incorporating gamified touches to the app, like multi-choice questions and guided navigation, Tactic has created a VR piece that spreads awareness of the issue and inspires users to inquire further about global warming. Climate Access is partnering with the city of San Francisco on this effort and will be sharing findings to help inform San Francisco’s sea-level rise planning and motivate participation in the climate action programs, including using 100 percent renewable energy. 

“The app encourages engagement by using immersive visuals to show the effects of climate change, whereas many other ways of messaging don’t put you ‘in’ the scenario the way that VR does,” says Tactic’s President and Principal Creative Technologist Peter Oberdorfer. “We put the user into a future scenario where they can see the effects of unmitigated climate change, and then show them a future with positive change—putting the user in a first person POV is a unique way of allowing them to understand the problem.”

The project is the result of a grant provided to Climate Access by FEMA. Tactic has been working closely with the city to acquire approvals for the various San Francisco scenes depicted in the app, which were conceived with the help of landscape architect and founder of the think tank Climate, Infrastructure + Resources Group, Nate Kauffman. Sites selected at Embarcadero, Heron’s Head and Mission Creek feature signage—also designed by Tactic—that encourages visitors to download the app and see how sea level rise could affect the exact area that they are standing in. In the future, Climate Access intends to create more of these sites and location-specific VR experiences working with at-risk cities around the country. 

As VR continues to evolve, finding ways to fully utilize the technology for purpose-driven, teachable moments are becoming increasingly popular. With this app built by Tactic, Climate Access is able to immerse users in the issue of sea level rise and speak to them in an engaging way that inspires curiosity and, hopefully, positive change. Climate Access will officially launch the Look Ahead app and campaign on Dec. 5 with a kick-off event at the Embarcadero site (at Howard St.) from 11am-12pm. See Look Ahead in action by downloading it via Google Play or the Apple App Store.
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Producer: Adriana Steiner

Graphic Designer: Erica Poat

Creative Agency

Creative Agency: Tactic

Production Company

VR Specialist: Peter Oberdorfer

VR/360 Operator/Stitching: David Bennett


3D : Miguel Diaz-Rivera, Brandon Blizard

Category: Corporate and social , Government

Genre: Action , Apps , Creative technology , Digital , Experiential , PR , People , Scenic , Storytelling , Strategy/Insight , Stunts , VR