StreetMuseum – Brothers and Sisters – 6.05

The Museum of London launched an iPhone app in May 2010 which cleverly brought its extensive art and photographic collections out onto the streets of the UK capital.

The free app, called StreetMuseum, was 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, selected historical images of the city appear.

Here’s how it works. The user opens the app and allows it to calculate his or her current location. A map then appears on screen showing not only the user’s position but also the locations of the various sites where archive images of London can be seen.

Touch one of the tags on the map and a small window opens up to describe the location and also the date and author of the image. Click on the blue arrow on the right of this window and the photograph appears on screen. Tap the screen to read more about the image.

Thus, users standing outside the Bank of England can see the damage caused in that exact location by a bomb in World War Two, or see a Suffragette carried away by police outside Buckingham Palace.The really smart thing about the app, though, is that, by clicking the ‘3D view’ button whilst in a location to which an image is attached, the app will recognise the user’s position and overlay the historic photograph over the current view through the iPhone’s camera lens – augmenting the reality that the built-in iPhone camera perceives.

A clever and engaging way to bring to life the history of London.


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