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Grant number: HD-50995-10

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City of Philadelphia, Department of Records (Philadelphia, PA 19107)
Joan Decker
HD-50995-10
[View white paper]
Historic Overlays on Smart Phones

The development of prototype mobile phone applications that would allow users to see historic photographs of Philadelphia in the actual city locations by pointing the phone camera at the building, a technique known as "augmented reality." This project draws on the extensive records from the NEH-supported PhillyHistory.org database.

This project will leverage recent developments in smart phone technology to create prototype augmented reality applications to overlay historic photos on the current urban landscape. The project will use the City of Philadelphia existing web-based archive of historic photographs available at PhillyHistory.org. Imagine pointing a smart phone at an historic building, and then being able to view archival photographs of the same building overlaid on the camera screen. This innovative application will enable students, architects, historians, tourists and other users to view available historic photos of selected sites in conjunction with a contemporary camera view for a learning opportunity that transcends the traditional classroom. The resulting applications will target the iPhone and Android phone platforms and will be provided as free downloads through the respective app stores, enabling Philadelphia to share its rich heritage in an entirely new way.

Project fields: Archival Management and Conservation
Program: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
Division: Digital Humanities
Total amount awarded: $49,885
Grant period: 3/1/2010 – 2/28/2011

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