Tech­nol­ogy will bring his­tory alive

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By EMMA DAWE

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.

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