New History Walking Tour App Knows Your Location

Experience A Time Tunnel Through Stillwater Minnesota’s History: Lens Flare Stillwater Launches Additional New Free APP With New Locations
Press Release by Robert Molenda, LensFlare Stillwater founder

Lens Flare Stillwater, a not for profit project funded by The Stillwater Area Foundation announces its newest FREE APP and Web Site to visitors, tourists and residents. This project won The Great Idea competition in 2016. The project objective was to provide APPs for your mobile devices that enable you to carry the history of Stillwater in your pocket while traveling through a geo-location time tunnel.

Imagine that you are standing in front of the South Hill Stairwell in Downtown Stillwater. You go to the web site and activate one of the FREE APPS. The APP senses your geo-location and when you are inside the geo-fence of this historical location, the device is triggered to show a photo of how that same location appeared at some previous time in the past. In this case, the South Stairwell location will show John Runk Collection Photos taken in the early 1850’s and later years. In addition to the photos, there are text and audio narratives. When you walk into the geo-fence of other nearby historic locations, new photos and information automatically appear on your mobile device. There are nineteen locations to visit and most feature the audio trigger when you enter the geo-fence using the Newest Apple iOS APP.

The other, browser-based FREE APPs for any mobile device, are linked to the web site for a seamless transition from one to the other for additional historical information. In this way, we connect to Google Maps 360 to see the same location as it appears today, along with other surprises. The APP is unique and the combination of the APP with the web site is synergistic and interactive for telling stories in a different way.

These FREE APPs enhance your experience while actually visiting Stillwater. To experience historic Stillwater from an armchair, people use the web site by itself.

The software for the APP is powered by LodeStar, an authoring tool provided by LodeStar Learning Systems, a Minnesota Company that sells learning software to Educators. Director for Online Learning at Metropolitan State University, Mr. Robert Bilyk says,”To view the town of Stillwater through the lens of the past, the group has combined the arts of storytelling and photography with the new technology of mobile phones and geo-location-aware applications.”

Dr. Molenda, a retired 3M research manager and marketer heads up a small volunteer group of history buffs who provide the content, narratives and populate the software fields for this project. “The content is a tribute to Mr. John Runk, an early photographer who collected and archived his and other photos of Stillwater for historical purposes”, says Molenda. “From what I know of him, he would have felt right at home with this project.”

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