, JRA to produce unique James River map

April 15, 2014 · 1 minute read

We’ve got big dreams here at One of them is on the front of the Metro section in today’s Times-Dispatch.


T-D photog Kevin Morley’s shot of the team on the mapping boat at Deep Bottom.

T-D reporter Graham Moomaw and photographer Kevin Morley joined Ryan and me at Deep Bottom Boat Landing last week as we tested our custom-built, aluminum-frame pontoon raft for the first time. Over the past two months, we’ve worked with our friends at Custom Metal Fabricators to design and build the stainless steel structure you see in the picture to the left. A set of telescoping poles holds up the housing for the six-camera array.

This summer part owner Ross Milby and a partner will float the entire 340-mile length of the James River, taking pictures every 30 or so feet. Those images (about 360,000 of them) will be stitched together into 60,000 panoramic images, creating a virtual tour of America’s Founding River. With that content we can create next-generation “augmented realty” maps — maps that not only let you see a river or a trail, but click on informational icons inside the 3D map as you go past them. Our map of the James, that we’re producing in conjunction with the James River Association, will be the first of its kind. And you’ll be able to find it on, and, a project of the JRA.

Our goal is to offer a unique online experience for trail and river lovers — something they haven’t seen anywhere else. That gets underway this June on the James.