Technology will bring history alive
Central Otago’s goldmining history is set to be dragged into the 21st century, with the development of a heritage application believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand. The Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust has combined forces with the University of Canterbury’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory to develop the app, which will allow people to travel back in time to see Central Otago’s goldfields towns as they were during the booming goldrush years. Trust president Martin Anderson said the project arose out of an idea by trust member Lloyd Carpenter, who was also a member of the history department at the University of Canterbury and who recently completed his PhD dissertation on the Bendigo goldfields. The app means people can visit the Bendigo site and, using touch screen interaction such as a smartphone or an iPad, can point it at various locations and see pictures of what the site looked like during the goldmining period. The app will be able to detect the location of the user, as well as showing photos, text and possibly audio about a particular point of interest. While the app would initially be available for the Bendigo site, Mr Anderson said other sites were also being earmarked for development, including Old Cromwell town and Bannockburn. While the technology wasn’t new, Mr Anderson believed it was the first time it would be used for heritage sites and he said other heritage organisations could be interested in it. ‘‘We think that when we’ve got it up and running, we could have something quite saleable.’’ He said it was important organisations like the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust kept up with modern technology to help expand the trust and attract new members. The project had cost several hundred thousands of dollars, but the Human Interface Technology Laboratory had contributed significantly to the cost, with the Central Lakes Trust also contributing $50,000 to the project. Mr Anderson expected the heritage app to be ready by November.
Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust president Martin Anderson.