In 2020, Book of Mormon Central (BMC) and the Church began preparing 360-degree tours of major Church History sites. BMC gathered 360 spheres from the Church History Department, the BYU Religion Department, third party groups and individuals, and our own footage.
We commissioned a contractor to film footage at the Priesthood Restoration site in Harmony (now Oakland) Pennsylvania. In April and May 2021, BMC sent video teams to capture 360 footage from sites in Nauvoo and Kirtland that we needed to fill in some gaps.
We worked with the Church’s Intellectual Property Office to get permission to put the Church’s name on our work. After all this effort, there are now 38 major Church History sites with 360 tours of grounds and structures available in Google Maps Street View.
Book of Mormon Central gathered the spheres, edited them, prepared them to meet Google requirements, and uploaded them to Google Maps Street View with the Church’s name and logo. We linked to these spheres in our ScripturePlus mobile app.
The Church linked to them in the Gospel Library App and the online Come Follow me enrichment material.
The 360 tours have now been viewed over 10 million times and we have received a great deal of positive feedback from people all over the world, some of whom will likely never personally visit places like Joseph Smith’s Red Brick Store in their lifetime.
A 360 tour where a person can move the image around, see the floor and ceiling, go upstairs, follow a path through the woods, etc. is a very engaging digital way to visually appreciate a landscape or a structure.