Sligo VR firm enables remote public consultations

Innovation allows developers to host virtual public consultation events during Covid-19 restrictions and beyond.

Technology created by Innovision, which is based in Strandhill, Co Sligo, during the lockdown allows people not able to attend an event to view a particular development from the comfort of their own home.

Innovision is a visualisation and mapping consultancy which provides a full range of photomontage, visualisation, mapping and GIS services for developments from residential, office and retail spaces to renewable energy, infrastructure and large-scale engineering projects.

“Even after things have started to re-open many people may not wish to attend indoor events, especially those in vulnerable groups, while others may have difficulty traveling”

In March, the company became the first in Ireland to create innovative Virtual Reality (VR) visualisations, using real location imagery, for proposed developments. Through VR headsets, stakeholders can immerse themselves in a full 360-degree view of the current landscape before switching to a visualisation of the same landscape with the proposed project in place.

How virtual consultations work

A virtual room is set up in a unique and user-friendly 3D virtual environment. It can be laid out in whatever way the developer wishes and can display interactive information, posters, banners, videos, documents or any other information that developers want to communicate with stakeholders.

A facility to fill out questionnaires, query forms or to contact developers directly can also be set up within the virtual room.

Innovision’s virtual consultation is already being successfully used for a number of projects including two proposed Coillte developments.

They are the Coillte Renewable Energy/Brookfield Renewables co-development for the proposed Ballinagree Wind Farm project in Co. Cork and the Coillte Renewable Energy Carrownagowan Wind Farm project in Co. Clare.

The Innovision virtual consultation platforms associated with these two projects have been live since June.

Innovision founder John Flanagan said that this latest innovation can be used instead of —or alongside —physical public events, greatly enhancing the access and equality for all. Even after Covid-19 restrictions are eased it will give those who do not want – or are unable — to go to public places the option to do it virtually.

“Even after things have started to re-open many people may not wish to attend indoor events, especially those in vulnerable groups, while others may have difficulty traveling,” Flanagan explained.

“We are delighted to offer this service as a way of making public consultations accessible to all. We hope that this service also complements physical public consultation events once they are back up and running to ensure continued equal accessibility for all.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 6 July, 2020