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Hong Kong’s new tourism app uses AR at historical sites

City University of Hong Kong has announced an innovative tourism app that uses AR to contrast historical sites with modern-day Hong Kong.

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hong kong AR tourism app

‘City in Time’ is a collaboration between the Centre for Applied Computing and Interactive Media, the School of Creative Media (SCM), City University of Hong Kong (CityU), and the Tourism Commission.

The app uses augmented reality (AR) to offer an immersive experience of Hong Kong. It merges digital images with the real world, juxtaposing modern-day sites with historical scenes.

‘City in Time’ users will enjoy the past and present of some of Hong Kong’s most popular historical locations at designated sites in Central and Kowloon.

“‘City in Time’ vividly brings back to life Hong Kong’s extraordinary history,” said Professor Jeffrey Shaw, Yeung Kin Man chair professor of media art at SCM.

Users can locate the AR markers in Hong Kong online or via exploration. They simply point their device at the QR code on the marker and download the app.

Next, users need to point the device at the face of the pole to activate the information, with each location assigned a specific period in history.

‘City in Time’ launched in Hong Kong

hong kong AR tourism app

The app allows users to explore the 360-degree panoramic artwork unveiling what Hong Kong looked like in the past at the location of the AR marker.

“You can also take selfies against the artistic rendering of the historical panorama and share on social media as well as read about the history of the location,” said Shaw.

The development process started with laser scanning the historical locations, before a 3D model was created using historical photographs.

“The panoramas were modelled in 3D so that optical tracking could be used to spatially align them with the actual environment, using AR,” added Shaw.  

“We have used technological innovation to show how Hong Kong’s fascinating, ever-changing past evolved into and has influenced the living present.”

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) previously teamed up with AR company Niantic to promote tourism offerings through Pokémon GO.

Images: CityU

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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