News of the World!

newspaperWalking Through Time was featured as a full page news story in the Scottish national newspaper The Sunday Herald. On page 5 too!

check out the online version here:

it seems to have captured the publics imagination.

Published on 3 Jan 2010

“Time travelling used to be an expensive, clumsy business.

According to TV shows and films such as Dr Who and Back To The Future, would-be explorers of the fourth dimension need at least 1.21 gigawatts or a large blue police box to get anywhere. But a new iPhone application developed in Scotland could simplify the whole process.

Walking Through Time is a new app created by academics at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). It applies the satnav technology used by Google Earth, but instead of pinpointing where the user is on a current map, it shows where they would have stood two centuries ago.”

Value Add

Reflection of the value added nature of the project.

1.Web App

WTT has been quite a journey, one of the most significant aspects of the project that has a value added quality is the webapp. I started with an aspiration to make an iPhone app – largely because i’d done this before and seen the benefits of releasing something through the App Store and getting lots of users! However this was always going to be a problem for an app that relies on licensed  EDINA maps that only HE’s could see!

Peter was cool though and saw the bigger picture – he was always for a web app, cross platform and flexible for updating.

Having gone through the project now its astonishing what the team have achieved with the a web app and its clear that it was never an option to pursue an Iphone app.

Pros are:

1. Obviously any cross platform route has got to be good, and its refreshing to offer people access on a bunch of media.

2. The iterative development cycle using a web app meant that it was much easier to role out and update as we (petra and peter) went along – the consequences of ad hoc distribution are slow and tedious, so this was so fast and so nippy.

3. There is some faith in the future of a simple web app rather than the laborious nature of the App stores that prevent agile production and lock down apps.


1. No access to an App store so you can’t reach a wide audience, mind you this was never possible due to the limitations of the EDINA license. But if we had the license sorted out it would be great to reach anyone who was browsing their App Store – many people use this as a convenient filter to safe apps.

2. The app may have been faster if native. In the end it works very well on iPhone 3GS but less well on an 3G.

2. A less technical reflection is on the experience of using the app. Its an exciting concept and one that when turned in to reality offers some stunning thoughts. I’ve always believed that the blue dot on my Google Map was me. So when i find myself (the dot) walking across an old map something funny is going on. Something dramatic.

2.Walking Through Time

Maps were always on walls or table for me, i was never in them, so to find myself inside them is strange and exciting – its a sci-fi moment and something that Dr.Who or Marty McFly wouldn’t be without. Users are starting to communicate this – not just the logical expression of appreciation for using old maps but the cognitive excitement for walking landscapes using a different time frame.

It makes you wonder what time frames people are walking cities in – are a couple who have lived in an old place walking through it with the same eyes as a young couple? Do the memories of old places overwhelm the idea of the new? If this is even slightly true then a contemporary google map may not be the only one that should be used for navigation.

3. Releasing the EDINA maps

Working with James has been great – they are so quick and flexible its amazing. An extraordinary outcome seems to be the potential for releasing public access to the app that allows them to use the maps and develop a love for them. Obviously we can’t release to the public but you can see from HE testers that the maps take on a value that would normally be restricted to historical use only. The app seems to invigorate the maps with a powerful sense of memory and value because they become compared with the contemporary space.

We presenting the app to Landmark on Thursday to try and spark enthusiasm for its commercialisation, and you would hope that they would at least like to trial it with users.