Walking Through Time closing blog
This is a final closing blog post that summarises the achievements of JISC follow-on funding for Rapid Innovation – Benefits Realisation Small Project Funding.
The WTT project has taken many turns in its two year history and has forged many links that continue to demonstrate the rich nature of both the idea behind it and the collaboration that made it happen.
As of July 2011 the iPhone App has been downloaded over 9000 times and it continues to attract attention with limited marketing.
The App site is here:
The link the to App in the Apple store is here:
The app was launched at the end of July 2010 in time for the Edinburgh International Festivals. At this time the project team had secured an agreement with the Landmark Information Group to allow free public access to their historical maps for a period of time that covered the festival. This made the free app very attractive because along with 3 maps from the National Library of Scotland, the app allowed multiple maps of Edinburgh.
In addition to the maps, two guided tours were included that featured audio files embedded within the app:
1. Margaret Stewart a historian at the Edinburgh College of Art provided a very personal narrative to the history of places surrounding the Royal Mile.
2. The Edinburgh World Heritage Trust recorded a selection of narratives by two Scottish actors to extend their popular House Histories trail.
The tours appear as trails that are linked between landmarks in the map. Each landmark is identified by a pin point in the map, and touching/clicking the pin give access to text and audio file (where available).
Gallery of working app (click here for larger images):
Education and Cultural impact
The app has made good impact into the education and cultural communities and WTT was presented through an invited lecture and accompanying workshop at the Digital Futures of Cultural Heritage Education symposium at the University of Edinburgh (DFCHE), March 2011. The DFCHE project was funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and led in collaboration by the School of Education at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland. DFCHE had two specific aims: 1. To begin to establish a research agenda for museum and gallery education for the digital age, 2. To inform policy and practice in the use of social media and user-generated content by the Scottish cultural heritage sector.
Business / Spin out
Following the immediate success of the app during the Edinburgh Festival 2010 the project team began conversations with Landmark Information Group to develop a UK version of the app which would allow the public to walk/drive across the UK using an 1850 map. Particular excited by the prospect of finding out what was under the M1 as one drives to London, the idea, coupled with the exciting download statistics from the festival led to a series of conversations about a fully licensed product.
Landmark remain keen to develop a product, however concerns over the pricing framework have meant that discussions have since stalled. In order to justify the release of UK wide maps, the company would have to charge a significant price for the app (something in the region of £4 for a single map).
More recently following a presentation of the app at the Scottish Technology Showcase (7th June SECC, Glasgow) interest has now turned to developing international language versions of the app for Edinburgh Tourists. Since the app capitalises upon the free maps that are made available by the National Library of Scotland, and 60% of visitors to Edinburgh are international, developing foreign language versions may be better way of capitalising what the project team has achieved.
The app has attracted a great deal of attention across academic communities for a number of reasons:
1. For the GIS community the very user centred approach in its simplicity as an iphone App has given the team access discussions about how GIS technologies can access new audiences.
2. The museum community has embraced the App as a model demonstrator of novel audience engagement that connects historical data with contemporary media.
3. The IT / HCI community enjoy it’s critical design approach – the turn toward using old maps as oppose to adopting new cutting edge technology.
These connections and interests have led to range of invited talks and presentations in which WTT was discussed in the context of multi-disciplinary production and agile development:
SACHI: the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group
St. Andrews University
Invited research seminar: 29th March 2011
Learning Sciences Research Institute, Nottingham University
Invited research seminar: 11th January 2011
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), Edinburgh
Invited research seminar: 8th August 2011
The App has also been presented as part of a series of conference presentations and papers:
The Digital Landscape Architecture conference, at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Germany. 26th to 30th May, 2010.
Speed, C. and Southern, J. (2010) Handscapes – Reflecting upon the Use of Locative Media to Explore Landscapes.
Also published in the conference proceedings:
MappingtheCITYinFILM a Geo-historical Analysis.
An International Interdisciplinary Conference
School of Architecture / School of Politics and Communication Studies
University of Liverpool. 24th -26th February 2010.
Speed, C. (2010) Walking Through Time: Use of Locative Media to Explore Historical Maps.
The Digital Humanities 2011 conference
Stanford University Library, Stanford. 19th – 22nd June 2011.
Co-organised Panel: Virtual Cities/Digital Histories featuring papers by:
Robert C. Allen, Natasha Smith, Pamella Lach, Richard Marciano, Chris Speed, Todd Presner, Philip Ethington, David Shepard, Chien-Yi Hou, & Christopher Johanson
Speed, C. (2011) Walking Through Time and Tales of Things.
The App was also presented the Scottish Technology Showcase, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow. 7th June 2011.
ALISS (Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences) is a not-for-profit unincorporated professional society. It is an independent group which was formed in April 2005 by the former committee of ASSIGN (Aslib Social Science Information Group and Network).
Walking Through Time article / paper published in ALISS Quarterly was nominated for the first prize (£50)
Chris Speed Walking Through Time in Volume 5, no. 3 ISSN 17479258, April 2010 of ALISS Quarterly
Following the conference presentation at MappingtheCITYinFILM a Geo-historical Analysis in Liverpool in 2010, Speed was invited to consult and become a member of an AHRC/BT funded research network.
Through a series of meetings the network established a small but critical community who offered expert inquiry into cultural opportunities for GIS and new media to engage with historical documents / material.
Research from the WTT project has informed two book chapters:
Mapping Cultures, published by Palgrave Books
Edited by Les Roberts
Chris Speed: Walking Through Time: Use of Locative Media to Explore Historical Maps
Due early 2012
Heritage and Social Media: Understanding and Experiencing Heritage in a Participatory Culture, published by Routledge books
Edited by Elisa Giaccardi
Chris Speed: Mobile Ouija Boards
Due early 2010
Link to code repository or API:
Source Forge Site: http://sourceforge.net/projects/walkthrutime/
download the XCode project here
Chris Speed, firstname.lastname@example.org – Edinburgh College of Art
Ian Campbell, email@example.com – Edinburgh College of Art
Karlyn Sutherland, firstname.lastname@example.org, Edinburgh College of Art
Dave Berry, Dave.Berry@ed.ac.uk – Information Systems, University of Edinburgh
Peter Pratt, Peter.Pratt@ed.ac.uk – Information Systems, University of Edinburgh
Petra Leimlehner, Petra.Leimlehner@ed.ac.uk – Information Systems, University of Edinburgh
Jeff Haywood, Jeff.Haywood@ed.ac.uk – Information Systems, University of Edinburgh
James Reid, James.Reid@ed.ac.uk – EDINA
Tim Urwin, T.Urwin@ed.ac.uk – EDINA