As boaters prepare for a busy season of voyages on the Rideau Canal, Carleton’s Centre for Public History and School of Information Technology have given the public a whole new way to delve into the history of the venerable waterway. The free Rideau Timescapes App allows visitors to interact with the visual heritage of 26 lockstations along the canal. The app was launched today at an event at Carleton University, and is available for download now in the Apple App Store for the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
“Historic photographs are usually only viewed in archives or museums,” said James Opp, the Centre’s co-director. “By making them accessible and mobile, we can change how users experience the rich histories and heritage of the Rideau Canal.”
App users have access to more than 700 historic photographs, available through a map interface. Short histories of the canal and its lockstations are available at the tap of a button. Users can also slide through time to see the changing landscape in the unique Timescape view. The app will even detect the user’s current position and jump to the nearest site.
The zoomable images can also be overlayed with contemporary scenes in real time through the phone camera, allowing users to position the historical image within the landscape and adjust the amount of transparency.
“This is a definite must-download for anyone interested in Canadian history or photography,” said Don Marrin, Superintendent of the Rideau Canal, Parks Canada. “Rideau Timescapes puts hundreds of seldom seen photos into the hands anyone who wants to enhance a visit to a Rideau Canal lockstation. People from around the world can experience this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site with this impressive app. Parks Canada is proud to have been involved in this project.”
The project was both conceived and brought to life at Carleton. Development of the app was handled collaboratively by Carleton’s Centre for Public History and the School of Information Technology, with marketing input from students in the Sprott School of Business. It was funded in part by a grant from the Canada Interactive Fund, Department of Canadian Heritage.
For more information:
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