From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

Apps for Tags And Maps

A couple of great mobile applications are now available which can make the recording of peoples’ memories and the histories of places a lot more interactive and exciting. Dr Chris Speed from the Edinburgh College of Art is at the forefront of much of this new stuff.  Earlier this week he met with a few of us who are interested in the social history of Wester Hailes and demo’d the sort of things they can do.

“Tales of Things” : As the website says – Wouldn’t it be great to link any object directly to a “video memory” or an article of text describing its history?  Well, you can, and it’s very very easy. A text, audio or video tag is attached to an object via a small printed QR code (a more sophisticated type of barcode). If you’ve got a smartphone that has an iphone or android operating system, you simply download the Tales of Things app, scan a tagged object and view the attached story. The website also shows how you can tag objects with your own mini-histories.  Why not type “Wester Hailes” into the search box and see what comes up?

MakkaMappa : This app allows you to access a large collection of maps of all sorts from all over the world, search for what ones you want and switch between them. Because the app is GPS-enabled it will pinpoint your location and tell you the direction and speed at which you’re travelling. The maps have been added by loads of different people – anyone can make a map and add it to the store.

Here’s the exciting crossover that’s about to be explored with Chris Speed and others – using and developing these apps to create an interactive social history of Wester Hailes. The idea is that via your phone you’ll have the facility to scroll through a map of Wester Hailes as it is today, tap on different locations and read or listen to stories about the past and view old maps and photos that will show what the area used to be like. As well as that, you’ll be able literally to walk through time, guided by GPS, to different locations which have been QR tagged and, using your phone, read or listen to people’s memories about them.

We’ll want as many people and organisations in the community as possible to get involved in helping to make this project happen and to gather information, recollections, photographs and other visual material for it. Watch this space for more details, hopefully in the very near future!


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