Tech Innovations Expand 9/11 Memorial Reach

Tech Innovations Expand 9/11 Memorial Reach

A 9/11 Memorial Museum design study of vigils and gatherings. (Thinc Design with Local Projects)

Sept. 11, 2001 is one of the most recorded events in history. Having so much 9/11 information helps us retell countless stories of loss, grief and heroism. It also presents the problem of accumulating, safely storing and sharing our growing collection of 9/11-related materials.

To that end, we’ve sought solutions through data storage from multiple vendors. We’ve tapped cloud storage through companies such as Nirvanix and, to a lesser degree, Amazon S3, an online web storage service. As a nonprofit, the 9/11 Memorial has to make prudent decisions on how technology is used and deployed. This allows us to select effective solutions as we prepare to open the 9/11 Memorial in less than six months and the 9/11 Memorial Museum a year later.

As we continue to work feverishly to open, we’ve engage the public through technology in meaningful ways.  We connect with the world through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. But beyond these well-known channels, we’ve built numerous interactive web properties to share and receive information. In 2009, we launched the Make History website, allowing the public to send and share 9/11 images, videos and stories. In 2010, we released an iPhone app called Explore 9/11, which is approaching 300,000 downloads. Also in 2010, we unveiled our Lady Liberty interactive. And this year we released the interactive 9/11 Timeline, which chronicles the events of 9/11 with images, video, and audio.

We’ve partnered with organizations – large and small – to deliver these engaging, meaningful experiences.

A partnership with Google led to the creation of a 3D rendering of the Memorial. Microsoft's Bing team provided a link to our website from the Bing homepage that boosted traffic to our site. Microsoft also provided hosting on their Azure hosting platform for our interactives. Twilio provided voice XML capabilities for our “Call to Remember” hotline archive. We also teamed with Earthcam to provide a video feed from their camera overlooking the World Trade Center site.

We recognize the role technology plays in creating these meaningful experiences as well as expanding our reach across the globe. You can expect more innovative uses of technology to deliver on the promise to never forget.

By Sean Anderson, Chief Technology Officer for the 9/11 Memorial