Share the places you love — new online resource and app

02 Aug 2012 08:38:00.000

Is there a particular place you love — a little-known walk, park or business — that you’d like to share with others? A new smartphone app and online resource, set to be launched next week at the National Eisteddfod, allows you to do just that — create and share a digital profile of the places you care about.

Placebooks is an innovative, bi-lingual, online toolkit including a website and smartphone app that allows anyone to create, publish and share digital profiles of your favourite places. The app is available through the Android app store.

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The website and app have been developed by The University of Nottingham Mixed Reality Lab and Swansea University in partnership with People’s Collection Wales. They are funded by Research Councils UK with support from the Ordnance Survey and Horizon Digital Economy Research. The site and app are designed specifically for use in rural locations — much of the testing and development work has been conducted in rural Wales, Ceredigion. There are plans for the service to evolve from being Wales-wide to Europe-wide, encompassing a whole range of languages and cultural archives.

Both the app and website make use of detailed Ordnance Survey mapping, and the app is designed to work even in areas with no mobile phone reception. Once a PlaceBook profiled is created or downloaded, the content is ‘cleverly’ packaged and then stored on the phone — allowing you to access your favourite Placebooks on the go.  The app then uses GPS to show you how close you are to the content in the PlaceBook without a 3G signal. Where 3G is available, the app can be set up to use the signal.

Dr Alan Chamberlain of the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham said, “Giving people the chance to tell and share stories about their culture, interests and daily life is of the upmost importance and could have both a direct impact upon the economy and heritage of an area for years to come.

“Users of the website can upload their own media, or draw on a wealth of content from their People’s Collection Wales user accounts to create “books” that incorporate text, images, video, audio, maps and routes. At the moment users use their own archived content, but we envisage a system that allows the user to pull together a range of media from a number of archives, museums, libraries, galleries and other data sources. The list is endless really.”

An open launch workshop takes place at the National Eisteddfod on Monday 6th August. Participants can start developing their own PlaceBooks, take part in a discussion over the further development of the open-source system, and will be able to ask the developers for advice about how these tools can be used to promote their community, business or interests.

For more information on PlaceBooks visit the website.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

Dr Alan Chamberlain in the Mixed Reality Lab, on +44 07813704760 or 
Tara De Cozar

Tara De Cozar - Internal Communications Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8560 Location: University Park

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