How may we find new and engaging solutions for access to, and the application of, digital photo archives? Digitized photo collections continue to be relatively unused and unexploited, despite formidable investments in conversion from analogue formats over the past several decades. Innovation in design and implementation could open the way to a plethora of new techniques for the display and dissemination of digitized resources.
In this project, we explore some new and potentially valuable techniques to enhance use of digitized historical photographs by combining mobile Augmented Reality (AR) with elements of gameplay (gamification) and rephotography. The AR platform we have developed (situated simulations) is a type of Indirect Augmented Reality where the full screen of the device is employed to represent the reconstructed environment. To make the design practical, we drew from features found in common 'analogue' games such as the jigsaw puzzle and the 'Hot Cold' game. In addition to this experimental design for a ‘Photo Positioning Puzzle’, the application includes a dynamic 3D–reconstruction of an historic town square – the Raekoja Plats in Old Narva, Estonia – as well as an information layer for access to background information, including additional historical photos and online resources.
The system has been tested and assessed by users on location. Our conclusion is that the presented ‘Photo Positioning Puzzle’ and its integration with other forms of mobile AR functionality was very successful, and should have general value and suitability for additional historical places with corresponding photo collections and archived documentation.
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