Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Kings Cross Map App

My lovely friend and occasional curatorial partner, Minnie Weisz, has been involved in a new Guardian App about Kings Cross. On the App she talks about her gallery and its relationship to Kings Cross's history. Below's more info - I'm downloading it as I type...


For immediate release: Wednesday 21 March 2012
Guardian News & Media (GNM) has today launched an experimental mobile app for iPhone and Android, inspired by its London home of King’s Cross.
The free mobile app - ‘King’s Cross, London - Streetstories’ is an immersive audio walking guide with a difference; as users walk through the streets of King’s Cross, the app will automatically activate sounds, music and stories relevant to their GPS location, providing listeners with old and new tales from this part of London.
The app, which can be downloaded via 3G, features ten stories, though there is also a much larger version of the app, Streetstories Extra, available on iPhone which has over 70 stories and about two hours of audio material, downloadable via Wi-Fi. Users can also experience the app away from King’s Cross, by using it in manual mode rather than autoplay mode.
Francesca Panetta, Special Projects Editor in GNM’s multimedia department, who originated the concept, said: “Streetstories is a great way to experience an area in a new way, and we found out all kinds of things about the area during this project - Charles Dickens lived here for some of his childhood, Thomas Hardy worked as a trainee architect helping to clear bodies from St Pancras Old Church, and along York Way, where our building sits, you would have seen cattle being marched down the road from the Caledonian market, once the largest cattle market in Europe.
“With no pre-determined route and no set time length, users wander the area with their eyes wide open rather than pressing buttons, worrying if they are going in the right direction or getting out of sync with their audio tour. It’s also a great example of how technology is helping the Guardian to tell stories in new ways, in this case experimenting with non-linear narratives.”
The apps were produced in-house at the Guardian, and developed in partnership with Calvium, the Bristol-based company behind the AppFurnace app development engine. The Guardian’s UK offices are in the landmark Kings Place development in King’s Cross.
Nina Lovelace, Content Development Manager, GNM, added: “This is a great example of how the Guardian can match its high quality content with innovative technology - whether working alone or with third parties such as Calvium - to quickly create experimental products to test concepts. In this case, investigating the capabilities of, and consumers’ interest in, geolocated audio.
“We’re keen to get feedback from users, as well as talk to any potential clients keen to develop similar apps for their locations, organisations or travel routes.”


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