Museum taken to the people

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 12:00 01/03/2014

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Nelson needs to continue its momentum in the gigatown competition to get the fast internet and incentives that will help businesses flourish, says an app developer.

Kiwi AR project manager David Brydon, together with lead designer Paul Devine and chief programmer Patrick Stobbe have created an app called HEART, Heritage Education Augmented Reality Tours.

It uses three-dimensional scene recognition technology to post historical images and information on 13 sites around central Nelson on a smartphone or tablet device.

The Nelson Provincial Museum supplied the photographs and The Prow website provided the historical information.

Particularly targeting school children, the idea is to bring content from the museum into the world.

Mr Brydon said they could connect people with history in a more relevant and meaningful way through the use of education and technology .

The company had set up 13 locations around the city and hoped to have a total of 25 over the next few months.

While it was no easy task, the trio was able to complete the project in just 10 weeks, thanks to funding from New Zealand on Air and resources from businesses around Nelson.

Nelson was chosen because it had one of the best historical records of any city and is one of the oldest cities in New Zealand.

While HEART was able to get off the ground because of the support of NZ on Air, other small businesses might not be as lucky, he said.

"That is why it is in Nelson's best interest to win the Gigatown competition."

Running since late last year, the Chorus Gigatown Race aims to provide greatly subsidised internet that is 100 times faster than that now available.

Those behind the initiative also promise to give the winning town a $200,000 innovation fund to help give businesses a start.

"With gigatown, it means businesses just like ours who could really use a kick start can flourish."

Nelson would just thrive on it, he said.

"It is a fantastic opportunity to stand out as a technology hub in New Zealand.

"It could create a huge amount of future business for the region," he added.

A spokeswoman for key supporters of the gigatown Nelson initiative, Kathryn Koopmanschap, said Nelson would greatly benefit if it was to win the competition.

"It would make the region quite special. There would be more job opportunities, better educational opportunities and more innovation, like the HEART app."

Nelson was gaining momentum, moving into sixth place, but it needed to continue, she said.

The city had to be in fifth place by September if it wanted to "stay in the game".

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- The Nelson Mail

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