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Blog: hoppala

Discover Phildelphia’s Past on Top of its Present With PhillyHistory AR

Adriane Goetz May 20, 2011










A 1963 photo of 4625 Springfield Ave. in Philadelphia overlaid onto the present location.

With each cool new history layer, we are reminded that Augmented Reality is a great way to display historical photos and information previously hidden away in government archives.



Currently on the Layar platform, you can see San Francisco’s historic Market Street before and after the massive earthquake in 1906 that forever changed the landscape, view the Berlin Wall as it stood between 1961 and 1989, uncover Civil War history and more.



The newest historical addition to the Layar platform, PhillyHistory, uses Augmented Reality to merge Philadelphia’s past with present.



Using content from the Philadelphia Department of Records’ online database (PhillyHistory.org), you can access nearly 90,000 historic images of the city, 500 of which are pinned to the current landscape in virtually their exact location in AR. Of those 500 images, 20 also contain additional information about the places in the photos created by the editors of The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia as well as local scholars.







PhillyHistory App

This massive project was made possible by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The organization rewarded this grant to the City of Philadelphia Department of Records (DOR) in order to fund a research project that would investigate the use of Augmented Reality in displaying historic photographs as overlays on a view of the current landscape.



The DOR partnered with Philadelphia-based company Azavea to conduct the research on Augmented Reality and build the mobile phone applications. The two organizations published the results of this research in a free white paper available for download here. The paper also serves as a valuable resource for anyone interested in building on the Layar platform.



The PhillyHistory app is available in the iTunes Store as well as the Android Market, but you can also access it from inside Layar via the PhillyHistory AR layer.









Three phases in the evolution of the PhillyHistory layer

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/284

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Layar: Impactful AR in Your Everyday Life

Chris Cameron February 23, 2011

It was over a year an a half ago when Layar co-founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald posted a video to his YouTube account revealing details of the world’s first augmented reality browser. Today that video has been viewed more than one million times, so we thought it was time to refresh it for 2011.



Today, we are very excited to introduce a brand-spankin’ new video that expresses the vision and philosophy of Layar. Produced by the wonderful people at Campfire Creative, the video below features interviews with the Layar co-founders as well as examples of the impactful augmented reality experiences that live on our platform today.





Some of the really great layers featured in this beautifully-made video include:



Please feel free to spread this video around, embed it on your website or share a link with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks. If you would like to download the video, simply follow this link (Right click and choose “Save Link As”).

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/236

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Layar Creation Tools: Series Wrap-Up

Chris Cameron December 20, 2010

Over the last several weeks here on the Layar blog, we profiled three services for generating Layar content, which we call Layar Creation Tools (or LCTs). While other services exist or are in development, we chose to focus on these three - Skaloop, Hoppala Augmentation and BuildAR - because of their availability and accessibility to users of all skill levels.



Each LCT is unique and has its benefits to different users, so we decided to make a matrix that shows which features are available on each LCT. As you can see, Hoppala includes most of the features listed, such as layer actions, 3D objects and custom interaction widgets. Skaloop and BuildAR are simpler LCTs than Hoppala in terms of functionality, but their interface and design is a bit more digestible for more casual users.



If you are interested at all in creating Augmented Reality content on Layar, have a look at the matrix below and see which LCT might be right for you.





As for the services that are in development, keep an eye out for a pair of LCTs which are gearing up to open to public use: VISAR and Poiz. VISAR is a robust engine for creating layers and will likely be comparable to Hoppala in terms of functionality. Poiz is a bit simpler, but seems more detailed than Skaloop or BuildAR with features like the ability to preview the appearance of your layer. Both of these tools are still in the testing phase, but it’s likely that they will be available for public use early next year.



Note: Since this blog was posted, buidAR has since updated its platform significantly, including support for animation, 3D objects and more.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/216

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Layar Creation Tools: Hoppala Augmentation

Chris Cameron November 19, 2010

Continuing our series on Layar Creation Tools, we turn to Hoppala Augmentation, a tool that allows non-techies to edit and publish their very own layers on the Layar Reality Browser.



Hoppala is a very powerful “CMS” for creating content on Layar. Instead of playing around within pre-created layers, Hoppala actually helps you through the process of creating a developer account with Layar to manager your own layers. Our very own Ivo van Barneveld took a closer look at Hoppala, and here’s what he had to say…



Hands-On with Hoppala



It’s easy to get started with Hoppala Augmentation. On the Hoppala website there is a video that explains how to create a layer in 4 steps, it’s really helpful and shows clearly how to get started. Unfortunately, there is no other information (documentation, tutorials, etc) available other than this video.



Registration is simple. Once you have logged in, you can easily add your own layers so you can publish your own content in your own layer.



Editing a layer is also simple. By clicking a layer, you open up a page that allows you to drop POIs (or “augments” in Hoppala’s terminology) on a map. You can also enter an address to navigate to a specific location. A disadvantage is that you need to add every POI manually in this way; there is no option to upload a database of POIs.



Once you have placed your POI, you can edit it by clicking on it. A box with 5 tabs appears where you can set the details for the POI. All the attributes that Layar supports seem to be available through Hoppala: 2D or 3D layers, customized actions, customized icons for POIs etc. For the inexperienced user seeing these attrributes might be overwhelming.



It’s good to know that you only have to set a few (as shown in the video) for the POI to show up in your layer. The more advanced user will like the possibility to tweak his/her POIs. There is no further explanation about the attributes, so Hoppala does presume some prior knowledge of Layar. A suggestion for improvement would be to distinguish required and optional fields.



Publishing the POIs is straightforward. Once you have published your layer through Layar’s publishing environment, every POI that you have added through Hoppala will immediately show up in the layer.



To conclude, Hoppala is a very user-friendly tool to create a layer, with a good video tutorial on how to get started. Many options are available for the more advanced user, and the less advanced user will still be able to publish his/her POIs.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/204

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Using Layar to Peer Into the Past

Chris Cameron November 17, 2010

As fans of history, we here at Layar see Augmented Reality as an amazing tool for learning more about the past. Already, layers like the Berlin Wall layer allow people to see history come alive through 3D models.



Another fascinating example of this type of Augmented Reality is in the works as part of a collaboration between Lightning Laboratories’ Gene Becker and Stanford University Knight Fellow Adriano Farano. Becker, who is focused on experience design for blending physical and digital storytelling, and Farano, who is looking to find ways to use AR in journalism, have been experimenting with historical photographs in Layar and Hoppala, a tool for creating Layar content.



By making historical photographs viewable as objects within Layar at the locations where they were taken, viewers can achieve a better grasp on history - and the early tests by Becker and Farano look very intriguing.



The pair chose to use historical photos of Stanford as their first test images - specifically those from before a massive earthquake in 1906. Several parts of the old campus were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, and the evidence of missing architecture comes alive through Augmented Reality.



In the example above, the square structure on the right of the picture is actually the base of the right leg of the arch in the old photograph. Memorial Arch, as it was known, had to be demolished due to damage it received during the earthquake. In another example, a present-day statue is revealed to be the same as one which plunged through a sidewalk after being knocked from its perch during the quake.



The great thing about historical photographs is that there are millions of them in libraries and archives around the world, and dropping them into Layar is not terribly difficult. With Layar Creation Tools like Hoppala (which we will be profiling later this week), this process is even easier. We are excited to see what else Becker and Farano can create with further experiments!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/203

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