Joseph Tunney · CBC News ·
Should even out resources
Fai said his team, based out of the Carleton Immersive Media Studio, was contacted by the Ontario East Economic Development Commission about creating the tool.
The commission is a collective of smaller communities that encourages investment in the region.
After creating an animation that acted as a demonstration — which mapped all the breweries for the region — the commission was able to secure provincial and federal funds.
Unlike larger municipalities, Fai said more remote towns often can't afford to do their own mapping or hire full-time economic development officers.
"I think it will sort of even out the resources that are available for economic development across the entire region," Fai said.
The first phase, currently underway, is collecting data on the agri-food industry. Subsequent phases will look at cultural heritage and manufacturing across the region.
"The town of Perth is a good example," Fai said. "They want to promote how beautiful their town is in an interactive environment, which they'll be able to do."
Fai said his group is trying to secure more funding and hope to have a prototype ready within 18 months.
As far as the professor knows, there's no other application like this.
"That's something [the commission] has been adamant about the whole time," he said.
"It has to look cool. It has to look current. They want to be able to say, 'We have all of this agricultural, cultural, manufacturing capacity and we actually built this app in eastern Ontario.'"