Disney and Spitfire Studio bring Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood to life in new ways with Google Maps APIs

Editor's note: Today Jac de Haan, Developer Marketing for Google Maps for Work, speaks with Anna Hill, Chief Marketing Officer of The Walt Disney Company, UK & Ireland, and Spitfire Studio Client Services Director Tim George. They give us insight into how Disney and Spitfire Studio used Google Maps APIs and Google Street View. The immersive experience brings together more than 1,000 Winnie-the-Pooh assets, including videos, images, stories, downloadable content and games while also providing helpful guides, hints and tips for new mums. Fans navigate the 3-dimensional site and explore different character locations, including Pooh’s house, all through 360° photospheres.

Jac de Haan: Anna, the first question’s for you. The new Hundred Acre Wood site is both modern in its immersive and interactive nature and historic, paying homage to Hundred Acre Wood, the home of Winnie-the-Pooh that we all know and love. What was Disney’s goal in building the website, and why did Disney choose Google Maps for it?

Anna Hill: 2016 marks 90 years since families were introduced to the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood, when A.A. Milne’s first story was published. Winnie-the-Pooh and friends have stood the test of time with their heart-warming stories that continue to inspire children and adults alike.

Disney wanted to create the world of Winnie-the-Pooh for parents and children to easily interact with the classic characters and inspire their play time. Google was the perfect partner for delivering the platform—research shows that mothers are very actively searching the Internet for advice, tools and new content. So, we partnered with Spitfire Studio to design and develop the site, which we wanted to be optimised for tablets as well as traditional desktop computers. We anticipated that the site would continue to evolve, so it was intentionally designed to make adding new map locations and content within existing areas over time incredibly easy and seamless. We want to continue building on the experience as we see how children and parents engage with the site and content.

Jac de Haan: Tim, tell us about how you used Google Maps APIs to develop the site.

Tim George: The site’s main interface is a map of the Hundred Acre Wood, which includes graphics of characters — Pooh, Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet and others — and their houses. It’s built using the Google Maps Javascript API, so you can navigate, with zoom and panning, just like any other Google map. We provided our own graphics, so you really feel like you’re in the world of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Places on the map like Pooh’s House and Eeyore’s field are marked with customized pins. Click on a character, and the Google Maps Street View Service launches you into a Street View of that location — you can find yourself right inside Pooh’s House or out in Eeyore’s field. You can pan and look around, just like you can in Street View. We did this using our own creative assets. Once you’re there, you can click objects and access games, advice, videos and more.
We wanted to personalize the experience, so we used the Geolocation capability of the Google Maps JavaScript API along with a Weather API to reflect the weather in your location. The site will suggest play ideas best suited to your local weather, such as rainy-day activities during a stormy afternoon.

Jac de Haan: Anna, how does this Google Maps API integration empower your developers and benefit Winnie the Pooh fans?

Anna Hill: Google Maps APIs are great to have in your creative toolkit, and they let you think and work in unexpected ways. Integrating Google Maps by detecting the locations of website visitors lets us create a more well-rounded experience for both parents and children. In partnership with Spitfire, we’ve created something we’re immensely proud of, and Google Maps play a big part in that. We look forward to seeing how families interact with the Hundred Acre Wood experience and hope that they have a lot of fun engaging with our characters — just as they have for the last 90 years, but now in a thoroughly modern way.