White House Interactive Tour Goes Online - InformationWeek
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11/10/2010
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White House Interactive Tour Goes Online

Web app gives users a glimpse of everything from the Residence State Floor to the West Wing, East Wing and South Lawn.

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The Obama administration has launched a White House interactive tour that lets people explore the president's place of residence online.

The application has been a "long time in the making" and is part of the administration's goal of letting people see online what thousands of visitors to the building see every day, according to a White House blog post by Kori Schulman.

"President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are committed to opening the doors of the White House and truly making it the People’s House," according to the introduction to the tour. Indeed, transparency into government activities through technology has been a hallmark of the administration.

A drop-down menu allows people to choose which level of the White House they'd like to see; available options are the Residence State Floor, the Residence Ground, the West Wing, the West Wing Ground, the East Wing and the South Lawn. Once chosen, the site brings up an interactive floor map of that area to give people views into various parts of the White House.

The maps feature red icons that people can click on to find out more about a particular area. If someone clicks on the arrows, a pop-up window appears with either a photo or a video featuring the history of it.

For example, clicking on the Family Theater icon on the East Wing map shows a video of the film director Stephen Spielberg interviewing members of White House staff.

Another video shows members of the New Orleans Saints football team, which won the Super Bowl in 2010, cooking in the White House kitchen, located on the Residence Ground level

The White House will update the site with new videos and information as it develops.

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