Cannes Lions

The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks

GOOGLE, Mountain View / GOOGLE / 2017

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In honor of the National Park Service's Centennial celebration, we wanted to use Google technology to open up America's spectacular natural wonders to everyone. We enlisted park rangers as our guides, and together, we invited everyone to explore The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks. With their expertise and our technology, we took users on incredible adventures you won’t find on any map. We transported 360° cameras into five of the most unique and remote parks in the system -- Kenai Fjords in Alaska, Hawai'i Volcanoes in Hawai'i, Bryce Canyon in Utah, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and Dry Tortugas off the Florida coast. With the expertise of the park rangers, and the capabilities of Google technology, we were able to show folks places they couldn't experience even if they were standing their in person.


In just over 4 months, we created an immersive 360º experience allowing users to hike, climb, dive, and ride horseback. Interactive educational components let users navigate with sonar like the bats of Carlsbad Caverns, or see the effect of climate change over time on the glaciers of Kenai Fjords. It’s also the first to feature ambisonic audio, mixing sound in 360º to mimic how we hear in real life. A contact microphone captured the sound of rivers of water inside a glacier, and a hydrophone placed in the ocean captured the sound of fish and coral “talking.” We also built a custom 360º still camera to capture Bryce Canyon’s night sky.

We launched the project via Instagram influencers, Google social channels, the Google homepage, and Google Maps' Street View. The experience was also turned into a Google Expedition so teachers could lead students on a field trip at any time.


We received 678MM campaign impressions, 16M engagements across digital, social channels, and YouTube, and got 9M folks to visit the 5 parks via our web experience. And this year, we’re taking 1700 kids on their first ever field trip to a national park because nothing beats seeing these amazing places in person with your own eyes. The output created wonder, awe, and love for our National Parks for both first time visitors and seasoned fans.

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