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App brings youth to local heritage sites

Two screen grabs from the Explore150 mobile app.
Image Credit: Contributed
November 28, 2013 - 9:37 AM

KELOWNA - As Canada approaches its 150th birthday, a cross-country partnership has teamed together to create a free mobile app that helps youth find and explore Canadian heritage sites.

Explore150 is a place-based app that uses a phone’s GPS to direct users to community heritage sites across the country and allows that user to upload and share photos, comments and reviews.

It is a collaboration between an Ontario organization called TakingITGlobal and Kelowna based non-profit Get to Know.

Get to Know program coordinator Julie Whittet says the app is a way to encourage youth to develop an interest in history and their communities.

“It’s kind of like a virtual guest book,” she says. “It lets the everyday user become an author of Canadian history.”

The project is funded through the Youth Take Charge Grant provided by Heritage Canada and is free to download for iOS and Android with plans to expand to all computing platforms over the coming year.

The app was launched early this month and part of the promotion includes finding groups of young bloggers who will update the app with sites near them that are of historical or natural significance.

“We will have contributing bloggers putting up more sites as we go,” Whittet says.

The app also incorporates discovery quests, which reward users with points when they reach a site, upload a pic, write a comment or correctly answer a trivia question. The points increase users’ chances to win prizes ranging from board games to a trip to Montreal.

“You can go to these places and use (the app) as an interpretive guide,” Whittet says, “but if you’re just browsing from your couch you could go to the site and answer trivia and test your knowledge of the places as well.”

Developers hope to have an expanded version of the app fully functional within a year and in the meantime, encourage young bloggers (30 and under) who want to be included in the process to get in touch with them here.

“If anyone has feedback we’d love to hear it,” Whittet says. “It’s all about fine-tuning this app to make it perfect.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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