Since launching the Curzon Memories App in March 2012 I’ve been busy working on another cinema-related project as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council REACT Hub ‘Heritage’ sandbox, which might be of interest. The City Strata project was a collaboration with creative economy partner, Jo Reid of Calvium (the tech company behind the Curzon Memories app) and Peter Insole from the Historic Environment Record at Bristol City Council.
The City Strata platform enables developers to create different heritage ‘layers’ or ways of experiencing the city, that their users can then enhance by uploading their own content. Behind the scenes, the platform innovates by drawing content that relates to your specific location from a remote geo-database – in this case BCC’s Know Your Place historic ArcGIS map. By storing content in ‘The Cloud’ more information can be accessed locally than can fit into a normal app, making it scalable for multiple urban, national or even global points of interest. The platform was developed via the Cinemapping prototype, which maps Bristol’s historic cinemas, so that users can experience local cinema history in the places where it actually happened.
As part of the 3- month rapid-prototyping REACT ‘Heritage Sandbox’ process, the City Strata team undertook a series of pilots and R&D tests. We aimed to test two elements, the single point of interest which we piloted at the Whiteladies Picture House and multiple points of interest which we piloted in and around Castle Park, exploring how to cache multiple hotspots and whether iOS push notification could be used to alert users of nearby cinemas. The Sandbox process resulted in a white paper on ‘Making Scalable Location-Aware Apps’ and a poster outlining the research process which was presented at the REACT Showcase event at the Watershed at the end of September. You can watch a video of the keynote by Charles Leadbeater and the panel discussions with the REACT participants here; read more about the project and watch a short video here; and a press pack about the whole Heritage sandbox scheme is available here.
I am now continuing to work on the ‘Lost Cities of Castle Park’ App which spans over 100-years of cinema exhibition from the first moving pictures screened at the Tivoli in 1896 to the still extant Odeon which has been screening pictures since 1938. The app covers 13 cinemas in and around the park and I’m aiming to launch the app later in the Fall to coincide with the anniversary of the Blitz which destroyed the magnificent Regent in November 1940. Watch this space.