Indianapolis Zoo – Custom Solution


In the Indianapolis Zoo’s Global Center for Species Survival, our WorldViewer content engine powers a network of Elumenati displays as part of a new welcome experience for over a million annual visitors. The showpiece is Our Living Planet, an immersive biodiversity experience in the Schaefer Rotunda.

For Our Living Planet, we designed and provided a 10m-diameter perforated aluminum screen suspended beneath the rotunda’s dome. Rather than a typical planetarium-style hemisphere, the screen is truncated with a black scrim at the apex. This greatly simplifies the blended solution and provides significant cost savings. Using Barco F80 projectors, we designed a four-channel solution – never blending more than two projectors at a time. The resulting image offers 1.65 arcmin resolution and nearly 45,000 total lumens. As always, our goal was to hide the technology so that the audience is immersed in the 360° content without distraction. We also provided a fully customizable cove lighting system. Everything – the projectors, the audio, the cove lighting, even a preview display in the lobby – is driven by WorldViewer and can be controlled by a simple user interface on a wireless tablet. Working collaboratively with the Global Center team and leveraging our partnership with Medium Labs, we also produced extensive content for the exhibit with 360° video of animals, fungi, and plants.

“When we learned about Elumenati’s ability to distribute content across flat screens in multiple locations, we were able to adapt our approach to the entire experience that people have as they come through the zoo,” said Bill Street, Senior Vice President of the Indianapolis Zoo and Director of the Global Center. In addition to the dome, we provided a series of flat-screen LCD arrays also driven by WorldViewer. As guests move through the space, they experience looping images by world-renowned photographer Joel Sartore, videos highlighting conservation efforts, social media-style posts with QR codes they can use to learn more, and a dynamic preview of Our Living Planet content. WorldViewer makes it easy for zoo staff to refresh these monitors with conservation news as it comes online.

Zoo staff can easily manage all five systems through a simple HTML interface on the tablet, which drives each system individually using non-proprietary commands across the network. All the displays run on a single rack, featuring five custom-built, high performance image generators, all running WorldViewer – saving cost by eliminating the need for additional show control hardware.

In addition to design, installation, and ongoing support, we worked closely with the zoo to build the content and show control system. In partnership with Medium Labs, we filmed some species on location at the zoo and sourced other content from a roster of creators around the globe. We also provided a WorldViewer composition that serves as a template for special events so the zoo can feature everything from night sky astronomy images to photo slide shows and custom guest videos. Using WorldViewer’s folder loading capacity, the zoo team simply saves media to the server, and it instantly delivers a themed experience. “The benefit of the Elumenati system is that it’s ever-evolving and flexible – for special events like weddings or parties, or seasonal changes like showing spooky species at Halloween. WorldViewer just makes it really quick and simple,” said Kelly Griese, Public Relations Specialist for the Global Center.

The Global Center for Species Survival is a partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission. The Global Center staff supports and connects thousands of conservation experts working to secure a future for animals, fungi and plants in more than 160 countries. It’s our honor to support the Global Center’s mission by helping to create an inspiring immersive experience for the Zoo’s guests.

Here’s the video: