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StreetMuseum iPhone app


Posted by Gavin Lucas, 24 May 2010, 10:08    Permalink    Comments (28)

The Museum of London has launched an iPhone app which cleverly brings its extensive art and photographic collections to the streets of the capital...

The free app, called StreetMuseum, has been developed with creative agency Brothers and Sisters and makes use of geo tagging and Google Maps to guide users to various sites in London where, via the iPhone screen, various historical images of the city appear - just like in the image above.

OK, so here's how it works. You open the app and allow it to work out your current location. A map then opens showing you your position and also showing the locations of the various sites where you can view historic images of London - see screen below:

If you touch one of the tags, a small window opens up to describe the location and also the date and author of the image - as above. Click on the blue arrow on the right of this window and the image appears on screen thus:

tap the screen to read info about the image

tap again to remove the text from the image and feel free to enlarge it on screen just as you would any photo on the iPhone...

The really clever thing about this app is that if you are in the location pictured, you can click on the "3D view" button and the app will recognise your location and overlay the historic image over the current view - augmenting the reality that the built in iPhone camera perceives. We went to Carnaby Street to see if it worked and took this screen grab of the 3D view function in action:

Here are some more examples of the kind of augmented reality views of London the app offers:

More info on the app can be found at

StreetMuseum credits:

Executive creative director: Andy Fowler
Creative director: Steve Shannon
Creatives: Kirsten Rutherford, Lisa Jelliffe
Account manager: Emma Simmons
Developers: Gavin Buttimore, Robin Charlton
New business director: Helen Kimber
Head of digital: Kevin Brown
Digital project manager: Tanya Holland
Digital designer: Mateus Wanderley
Image geotagger: Jack Kerruish


Wow...not only it is clever but also interesting.

Bringing images of the past onto a 21st century technology.

Incredible...nice to know that some apps are art and culture related.
Location voiture
2010-05-24 10:21:06

Fab - my favourite history book is Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography and this illustrates what he calls the palimpsest of London - the way history is overwritten with many of the same patterns being repeated again and again in the same locations. Beautifully well done too.
Graham Pugh
2010-05-24 11:23:22

Fantastic, what a lovely trip back in time married with the now. This could only develop more, even with old movie footage over the new?!
Paul Hames
2010-05-24 11:28:57

This reminded me of something similar done on flickr

Love how you can see the difference between the old and new.
2010-05-24 11:34:35

Doug Kerr
2010-05-24 12:39:07

Totally brilliant idea.
One of the best applications I have sen.
Shame I own a Nokia X6!
2010-05-24 13:12:14

This is just freakin' cool! Mashing digitial with the real world, and the old with the new, the mind boggles...
2010-05-24 13:18:55

Not with a mobile, but the concept was originally developed by ART+COM Berlin:
2010-05-24 13:24:41

Watch out for Time Traveller's Guide to Bristol which does have movie clips too.
Website and iPhone app out this Summer.
Sarah Cox
2010-05-24 20:06:12

Something similar using Google Street View. A decent amount of London pics to be browsed.
2010-05-25 01:57:03

I really like, but it's not fear that I can't download from another countries accounts.
Don't look like we live in a globalized world.
at least I can see some pics here at CR.
D├ębora Klippel
2010-05-25 13:35:41

Wonderful! Any ideas if there are plans to extend to other areas of the country?
2010-05-25 18:14:44

It seems it's not available for other countries... Really a pitty!
2010-05-25 20:00:32

Is this available in Australia at all - particularly Melbourne?
2010-05-26 03:45:06

Wow, that is beautiful. How fantastic that the user can flick between historical images of the city and 3D augmented reality. I hope that other museums around the world make use of their collections in such an innovative and accessible way.
2010-05-26 07:39:20

The apps developers are pulling out the stops with the simplest, and delightful of ideas. Bip
bip Mistry
2010-05-26 08:26:31

This is fantastic!
2010-05-26 18:59:17

These are beautifully done. The flickr examples are superb also.
I created something vaguely similar some years ago using Flash...
2010-05-26 19:23:38

This reminds me of the psychogeography projects I did when studying my degree in sound art. We had to walk around the street making sound recordings about the areas we walked through and think about how those areas have been influenced and changed over time, interesting app.
2010-05-27 12:01:07

when i saw flickr then and now i started trying to use adobe photoshop to over lay. a friend has done one for me, but i still can't figure out how to do it myself. still hoping friend will teach me. no iphone. why can't the apps be use on my mac?
i love the idea and i am trying to use old family pictures.
james sonntag
2010-05-27 16:21:14

Print strikes back: W+K's Platform contingent has made an "analogue augmented reality tour" of the East End, called Ball of Chalk (rhyming slang for 'walk').

See some images, here:
CR Mark Sinclair
2010-05-27 16:54:24

Love it! The images are like looking at both extremes of a parallel universe! ;)
2010-05-27 23:22:20

great app, really great app - I would like to see the project extended further with image categories and themes like the blitz on london, paintings of J A McN Whistler's 'Nocturns', 50/60/70's music scenes, infamous crime scenes such a Jack the Ripper & the Krays etc.

So much potential, so little....? actually, so little what? why not extend it?
Jayenne Montana
2010-06-08 09:47:52

Does anyone else think this is eerily ghostly? I feel chilly just looking at these images. Most splendid.
Victoria Archer
2010-06-08 10:37:52

What an excellent use of the Smartphone and it's abilities! I've been doing asimilar thing with postcards for years, and wish you could buy the original images. It's really inspiring!

Here's my postcard set of cards taken at the same place many years later
Andy REAL wall
2010-10-22 13:02:15

Great APP

Have you heard of the Retroscope?
Francisco Lorca
2010-12-08 12:12:48

Happy to see more people using the immersive potential of the smart phone for art.

A similar app for Paris:
2011-03-02 16:57:32

This is so brilliant! Makes walking around my favourite city all the more magical!

2011-04-27 12:30:00

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