English Local History leads the way in exciting new collaboration between the University of Leicester and Google’s Niantic Labs

Posted by er134 at Mar 31, 2014 12:50 PM |
University of Leicester partnership to provide historical information to the popular Field Trip app

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 31 March 2014

The University of Leicester is to enter into a partnership with Google’s Niantic Labs to develop content for the exciting global mobile app Field Trip - contributing vital information on historical places and events.

Developed by Google’s Niantic Labs, Field Trip uses geo-location technology to alert users of the interesting, hidden and unique things in the world around them, including historical information about city sites, public art, and interesting architecture.

Field Trip helps users to discover their surroundings in ways they’ve never before experienced, whether they’re in their own local neighbourhood or visiting cities around the world.

The University of Leicester project is being led by Dr Richard Jones in the Centre for English Local History with support from Clare Hudson, Business Development Manager for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Law.

Dr Jones said: “Leicester has a long and proud tradition of communicating history in accessible ways to a range of audiences.  This began with the pioneering work of W.G. Hoskins in the 1940s and 50s.  He embraced all forms of media to pass on his knowledge.  By so doing he succeeded in moving the scholarly agenda forward while at the same time popularized his subject - a rare feat indeed!

“I am sure that Hoskins would have seen new digital technologies and social media as an opportunity not to be missed. I am delighted therefore that Hoskins’ spirit lives on in this new collaboration with Google’s Niantic Labs.  It reinforces the University of Leicester’s profile as a world leader in local and landscape history.”

Using the knowledge of staff and students, and exploiting the considerable heritage expertise and historical materials contained within the University, Field Trip cards are being produced to provide blanket coverage of places of historical interest across the country.

Field Trip presents users with exciting new information in the form of a card, which presents images of the location coupled with a description, including interesting information and opportunities.  Users can choose what kind of information they receive, from architectural descriptions of buildings, to museum and art venues, to guides to restaurants and other food outlets – and even music gigs.

The creation of Field Trip cards has already been embedded in the University of Leicester’s curriculum offering a novel form of student assessment.

Dr Jones said: “Writing short and engaging accounts of the kind used for Field Trip cards provides students with an opportunity to develop new kinds of communicative skills that are aligned to the modern world and which they would not otherwise have the chance to perfect. And, as an added bonus, after appropriate editorial, their work will be become digitally available to all Field Trip users.”

Clare Hudson added: “Everyone has a favourite place or a favourite story to tell. Our hope is that over time, as more people tell their stories through Field Trip, we will help create a unique vision of the world seen through the eyes of Leicester staff and students.”

Field Trip cards already produced by Leicester include the 8-star dining experience that visitors to Leicester Forest East Service Station could enjoy in the 1960s, the final resting place of Coco the Clown, the hidden marvels of the medieval chapter house at Southwell minster, the ciders orchards of Whimple in Devon - once the largest in the world – and even the hidden history of Nottingham’s Ikea store, built on the site of the last armed uprising on English soil.

Field Trip is available as a free download on Android, iOS, and Google Glass at www.fieldtripper.com.



Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact Dr Richard Jones at: rlcj1@le.ac.uk and Clare Hudson at ch328@le.ac.uk

For more information on Field Trip or Google’s Niantic Labs, please contact Chase Colasonno at chase@fortyseven.com

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