Like the London application Streetmuseum, ParisAvant enables tourists to discover the capital through old photographs and postcards, playing with all the possibilities of augmented reality. Developed by the creators of the tourist application Geoquestour, in partnership with the website ParisAvant, the application is available from now on the AppStore at the price of 1,59 Euro.
“The concept of the ParisAvant application was born on Geoquestour. We had discovered Frédéric Botton’s ParisAvant.com website and the idea of a partnership immediately sprang. After we created a little historical trail on Geoquestour, we decided that the concept deserved to be taken further” Sylvain Gauchet, co-founder of MavilleAvant, says. Thus no less than 1,500 places will be displayed by the application, the challenge being to add one each day. With the iPhone geolocation tool, users will not have to check whether the place where they are is available or not since, “thanks to a warning system, users will be informed that there is a photograph of the place where they are.” Indeed, after having determined a warning distance, each application owner will be warned as soon as he/she will be coming near a place displayed by the system. For those who are most reluctant to being geolocated, it is nevertheless possible to find all the places that can be displayed thanks to the map included in the application.
Today, a tourist application is worth its weight in gold only if it includes a bit of augmented reality. The creators of ParisAvant were no fools. Indeed this function will enable users to superimpose the photograph of a chosen place with another one, taken 100 years ago. “Thus the changes can be easily observed.” It will be a kind of historical before/after. The service also displays anecdotes and some brief information about the observed place next to each picture.
NantesAvant and MetzAvant are already on the way
The ParisAvant developers are already working on other versions. Indeed two other cities are already targeted: Nantes – old photographs of which will be drawn from Cédric Robergeaud’s website Retrovilles – and Metz thanks to Thierry Schoendorf’s work, which is available on the Miroir du temps website. But development for other cities remains difficult since it depends on the existence of digitised photographic archives, as Sylvain Gauchet indicates: “developing the application for a city requires huge in-depth work, which is not done in every city. It is very hard to find partners to work on the applications.” Though three cities are already on the list, full coverage of the whole country remains a utopia. But with the release of public data, some unusual archives may one day be taken out of their boxes.
- Download the application
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Translated by Oona Bijasson