Robe gets digital with interactive map

Community artist Neil Welsh adds final touches to the canvas painting
Community artist Neil Welsh adds final touches to the canvas painting

What began as a creative project a decade ago is now looking to play a vital role in Robe’s tourism.

Artist Neil Welsh started painting a huge canvas of the township of Robe, which is now being used as the blueprints for an interactive digital map to be completed later this year, a project he is now headlining.

“The main aim is the ongoing contribution to the progress of Robe as a community and developing a digital age tourist promotion product to showcase all the wonderful attributes of the Robe that the community has to offer,” he said.

As well as hopes of creating a fun, interactive tool for tourists to use as they visit the region, Neil says there’s been a team of dedicated locals working hard to make it a reality, making this project a collaborative piece.

The digital artists include Hadley Johnson (Community Arts & Cultural Development), Callan Sawyer (Visual Arts), Tristram Lawson (Robe project IT Overseer) as well as ‘traditional artist’ Terry Johnson.

Neil says the great thing about using visuals like interactive maps is it is beneficial not only for domestic tourists, but also those visiting from overseas.

“ [It] conveys all of Robes tourist information easily to our international visitors without the need for the English language,” he said, suggesting it could also assist with encouraging for more tourism from other countries, such as China.

While the focus is on Robe, Neil says there is certainly possibilities of extending it to another regions, allowing visitors to explore the region online.

Students from Robe Primary school have also been invited to give their suggestions for fun additions to the map to make it as creative and exciting as possible.

The project has been made possible thanks to a $10,000 community arts grant from Country Arts SA. The project began in early Feb, and aims  “to reach fruition in early September” with a launch at Robe Primary School.

Neil says he hopes the map will play a vital role in “portraying Robe as vibrant happy positive destination to both live or visit.”