Archive for July, 2013

App guides visitors at Copenhagen Fortifications

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The Copenhagen Fortifications is a suit of mobile applications, developed as part of the restoration of the fortification around Copenhagen. The restoration of the fortifications and subsequent organization, maintenance and outreach has been funded by the Realdania Foundation, The Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Environment. From the onset of the restoration work, it was an ambition to employ electronic communication and dissemination. Large parts of the museum actually located outdoors, it was also a priority to produce the means of dissemination in an open air environment open to the public at all times of the day – and night: This is a prime motivation for applying mobile technology. At the time this decision was made mobile technology mostly implied an access to a web site through a mobile phone, but as time passed, focus increasingly changed towards mobile applications. As part of the work of outreach 4 different APPS have been developed, as described in greater detail below.

 

The four APPs are all designed to tell the story of the fortification, but the APPs are nevertheless very different in content and style. So far, the four APPS are only available in Danish.

BEFÆSTNINGEN (The Citadel): Is an application that guides the user to specific sites along the entire length of the fortifications, running from the north along Dyrhaven and the horse tracks, the entire way along the outskirts of the city and along the old fortifications (Vestvolden), ending back at Charlottenlund fortress. Listening to the app, the user will get spoken words telling the story of specific sites. Time lines and text lines present the various sites along the route such as bicycle tracks and challenges, skating courts and other sites to be explored. Befæstningen was the first APP to be produced and it presents a classic electronic leaflet version of electronic communication. Initially, the Citadel APP included also the more gaming based Lost in time APP, but due to space constraint, the two APPs were separated into two separate APPs.

FORSVUNDET I TIDEN (Lost in time): This APP provides gaming the experience. It animated the story of Mathias or Sara – both lost in time. The user is transmitted to a time when the fortifications were active and part of the defense of the city. This APP can be operated at two different locations at the fortifications. The quest of helping Mathias and Sara escape is site-specific and challenges the user along the way to answer site specific questions and can be played at two different locations. Being site specific, these APPS will pose questions and challenges to the user depending on the specific location of the user and will guide the user to very specific experiences using augmented realities on the smartphone in order to solve the puzzles and help Mathias/Sara back to their own time.

REGN MED KRIG: Count on war is another gaming APP relating to the fortifications, and as above it can be played at two different locations: Charlottenlund fortress and one is concerning Kastrup Fortress. In both versions the user is given the opportunity to establish a defense of the two fortresses based on the assumption that the First World War erupts and that hostilities include Denmark. This is the latest of the developed APPs and has been developed in close collaboration with the Educational Department of the Citadel Museum. As such, it relies on the user completing a number of tasks in the construction of the fortress and requires the user to employ some mathematical skills.

KOLDKRIGSSPIONEN: The cold war spy APP has been developed as a game of the  story of the cold war, centered on the Ejby Bunker. The Ejby Bunker was the headquarters of the Air Defense Command from 1974 to 1971 and in this APP the user is challenged to investigate the bunker system through a game play of revealing a spy in the midst of the bunker personnel. Along the route in the bunker gamers will be prompted to investigate gadgets and installations as well as being guided through the facilities. As this APP functions underground, inside the bunker, it works by QR code scanning.

The above APPs have been developed as stand-alone applications which implies that they can be downloaded and used without any further contact to the developers of the APP. However, along the routes and at the sites of the fortifications numerous QR codes are also available. A very instructive web site at http://www.befaestningen.dk/ has been developed that works in tandem with the various mobile phone applications.

None of the APPs described above offer any interaction between users or between users and an outside audience. It has been the policy of the developers to limit possibilities to distribute photographs, for instance via facebook. Some options are available at specific sites to have a photo taken and there is an option of uploading the photo the museums website, but no further distribution has been made available. This is based on a consideration of how public institutions such as a museum can feasibly and ethically navigate on the internet.

Also, the fortifications offer outreach programs to schools and other educational institutions through the Educational Department whereby school classes can participate in pre-arranged educational programs designed to tell specific stories or aspects of the fortifications.