Virtual Reality Shows Impacts of Sea Level Rise

Campaign uses Visualization Technology to Engage Public on Countywide Impacts of Climate Change and Potential Solutions

SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif., Aug. 4, 2016 — (PRNewswire) —  Look Ahead - San Mateo, an innovative education campaign utilizing augmented reality technology, launched on August 4 to increase public engagement and outreach on the impacts of sea level rise on the shore and other assets at Coyote Point and in the County. 

In partnership with Climate Access, FEMA Region IX and San Francisco based Owlized, San Mateo County is supporting the installation of two Owls – a modernized version of a coin-operated vista viewer - that utilize virtual reality technology to provide a first person perspective of how the location will be impacted by sea-level rise and possible responses.

"The Owls are an exciting new way for the County to raise awareness about sea level rise and to engage the community in our efforts," said Supervisor Dave Pine.

San Mateo County is the most at-risk county in California for the impacts of sea level rise in the next 35 years. Scientists expect that sea level will rise by at least 36 inches in the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of the century.

With over $24 billion in assets, and over 100,000 people in risk zones for rising sea levels, San Mateo County is taking concerted action to prepare for sea level rise through the Sea Change SMC program ( The County is working in partnership with cities, businesses, agencies, community groups, and others to understand what is at risk from sea level rise and to develop solutions to reduce impacts from sea level rise.

"Sea level rise we can see coming a mile away.  It may well be the defining event of our children's generation." David Harris, member of the Sea Change SMC Community Task Force.

The Look Ahead – San Mateo experience will both help to demonstrate the risks to the public as well as provide a way for community members to offer input to County staff and decision makers. 

"FEMA's goal is to help communities understand their options for long term risk reduction so they can make inclusive choices based on their values and goals," said Juliette Hayes, Risk Analysis Branch Chief at FEMA Region IX.

Use of the Look Ahead viewers is free and open for public use from August through December 2016. Local community organizations will be hosting viewing events throughout the installation, and members of the community are encouraged to see Look Ahead – San Mateo and participate in the events.

Visit the viewers at 1701 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo near the California Boardsports pavilion through December 2016.

For more information on the Look Ahead - San Mateo campaign and for the events calendar, please visit

Follow us on twitter @lookaheadsmc or on Facebook at


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Look Ahead - San Mateo

Look Ahead - San Mateo
Cara Pike, Executive Director, Climate Access
Email Contact (250) 748-1784; Aaron Selverston, CEO, Owlized
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