Augmented Reality Perspectives of London

Since photography has been invented in the 19th Century, pictures play an important role in documenting historic events. These silent witnesses of time often gather dust in city archives and private collections and remain accessible only to a small group of adepts. The London Museum has now developed an Augmented Reality Application for iPhone so that historic images of London become accessible to the public.


The application available since 20.05.2010 in iTunes Store is called  "The Streetmuseum application". This is an Augmented Reality application, which works in tandem with the GPS receiver and the inbuilt iPhone camera. The application shows a street map of London with marked places where historic images have been saved. These places are immediately recognized by the GPS signal as soon the user reaches there. The historic site can be seen on the iPhone camera Display where a historic image of the site is being superimposed on the live camera image. Thus, the user gets a real life dimension of the historic events of various original scenes in London. In addition the user receives a short explanation about this historic event.

For instance the user can experience how in 1941 following an aerial bomb attack by the Germans, a building collapses in Queen Victoria street, women selling flowers in Covent Garden in 1877, or gathering of Hippies in Hyde Park in 1970 for a festival. Some examples can be visualized on the Mirror. One really gets the impression of experiencing the captured images live as the daily London life unfolds itself around the event.

This application can also be adapted as a joint-use Internet project in order to collect and share personal experiences in London through the medium of images. Hence, it would be interesting to complement historic image archives with personal archives. One can upload these images on the server of London Museum and thus give access to family picture galleries that also stand witness and document the ongoing transformation of London. In this way personal stories, which use London as their backdrop are narrated.

Can this eventually be a business model for Luxembourg cities?

On one hand the sites become more attractive for tourism and on the other hand sales of this application can help tap a new source of income for the cities. We are ready to help you with our advice if you want to install Augmented Reality for your city.