Fort Vancouver Mobile - A video overview

Courtesy of: Research Assistant Aaron May of Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture program. Produced in 2011.

Video highlights from the apps (36-minute version)

This montage provides a sampling of some of the video media in the Fort Vancouver Mobile apps. This app is much more than just a video distribution system, but these videos show the variety of content, from expositional segments to new journalism to those intended to prompt the development of interactive narratives.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Village officially opens at 10 a.m. on June 19

The newly reconstructed Village area of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site officially will open at 10 a.m. on June 19. Hope you can make it!

From the press release (photo courtesy of Greg Shine, National Park Service):

"VANCOUVER, WA - Superintendent Tracy Fortmann has announced that the Fort Vancouver Village Grand Opening Celebration will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 19, 2010. This free event will be held at the site of the historic Village, located to the west of the reconstructed stockade at Fort Vancouver and north of the Land Bridge.
The event will coincide with the first day of the annual Brigade Encampment special event, and will officially open the new trails and replica employee houses in the Village area." ...

To read the rest of the story, click here

Monday, May 24, 2010

WSU Vancouver supports the FVM project through a "mini-grant"

Just received news today that Washington State University Vancouver will provide $3,000 in grant funds to the Fort Vancouver Mobile project. This "mini-grant" is part of an annual drive by the institution to support faculty research, and Dr. Dene Grigar, co-project manager and PI for Phase Two, put together the application and shepherded it through the process. This grant will help to fund Phase One, the proof of concept for the project, which we will begin producing later this summer. More details to come. ... Thanks for all of your hard work on this, Dene!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another FVM app iteration: GPS coordinates trigger mobile phones on site within 3 meters

Lead code writer Joe Oppegaard of Montana Banana Design has generated another early iteration of the Fort Vancouver Mobile app, this one demonstrating the GPS triggering of mobile devices within 3 meters at the fort site, as shown here:

The text blurbs in this example can be replaced by any form of media, including audio, video, animation, etc., and set to push to users on site and play when they enter the designated 3-meter (roughly 10 feet in diameter) hot zones.

Some comments from Joe on the coding process before and during this iteration:

"I found an open source QR Code reading library, which means that we don't have to link to another QR reading app, we can actually have one built in. It looks easy to use, though I haven't implemented it yet. The other piece of that puzzle is grabbing an image from the camera on the phone, but I assume that the Android libraries make that easy.

Secondly, I've also been catching up on accessing GPS data from the Android as well, which also isn't too hard. So that means hopefully pretty easily I can implement the "if the GPS loc is X, then vibrate the phone and fetch video Y. ...

The development environment allows me to feed GPS data to it, so I actually test it all out as if I'm actually walking around the Fort."

From a later message:

"I successfully have the app listening to GPS data and have set it up so that unique code will execute when you get 3 meters away from any specific lat/long pairs.  So for example, if you walk within 3 meters
of the opening to the Bastion, the "Bastion" code will execute (right now all it does is tell you where you are, but is just a stub for where the video or informational page will show up later).  When you get within 3 meters of the door to Chief Factor's house, the "Chief Factor" code will execute, etc.

I got the lat/lon coords from Google Earth. ... I would suggest using Google Earth (or go down there with a GPS) to grab all of the coords for any place that in the future you think you might want to have something happen at.  We can always add content as we get it and place holders in the mean time.

The QR code library is looking to be a bit harder to integrate, so my suggestion would be that for now we focus mainly on the GPS auto-detection part of the app on the Android.

The phone emulator allows for setting up a "path", so I can feed it gps coords for testing as if you're walking around.  I'm going to try and do a video of it tonight to show you what it's looking like."

Monday, May 10, 2010

A QR code tour in Long Beach, Wash.

Stumbled upon a QR code tour of Long Beach's boardwalk this weekend, including a short text block about Clark's Tree (where William Clark, of the Lewis & Clark expedition, apparently gazed at the Pacific Ocean for the first time, then carved his name into a tree, in 1805). 

Here is what this particular location code gave me:

This bronze tree represents one on which Captain Wm. Clark carved his name in 1805.

The original tree lasted until nearly 1900. Commissioned by the City of Long Beach, the bronze replica traveled by barge in 2003 from Clarkston, WA., on the Snake and Columbia Rivers, stopping at various ports over a 4-week journey.

Local sculptor, Stanley Wanless, cast the tree in Utah, but it was sent on the river route to follow the final leg of the Corps of Discovery journey to the Pacific Ocean.
Once the barge arrived in Ilwaco, the statue was moved by crane to a trailer which hauled it along Pacific Highway and placed it at its present location.

The setup looked like this: With the plastic sign posted to the top of a wooden post nearby. As you can see (forgive the image quality; it was taken with my phone on a bright sunny day), someone already has tried to pry the sign off, or maybe just pounded on it for fun.

Fort Vancouver has been experimenting with QR codes, too, under the direction of Chief Ranger Greg Shine, and these can be helpful and effective. In short, all I had to do was open up a QR code reader on my Android phone, point it at the code and the code directed me to the URL, which displayed the custom page.

It was interesting to learn about the sculpture's background here, but I also felt like I had so many more questions at this point. I really would have liked to have received much more content, particularly content that engaged me beyond simple Chamber of Commerce newsletter type information. It sounds like this tree had an amazing history, and I suspect preserving it, or at least the memory of it, was a significant community issue. I was impressed that a town the size of Long Beach was using this sort of technology, but I have to say this sign raised my hopes for an experience much higher than what was delivered. Maybe a few lessons learned by all of that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fort Vancouver's other digital efforts to open up the historic site to a broader audience

Fort Vancouver Mobile is just part of the national historic site's efforts, led by Chief Ranger Greg Shine, to incorporate digital media into historical interpretation.
There are podcasts available on site, and here are some other links that you might find interesting:

FOVA Flickr Site:
Images can be uploaded and accessed by the public. Shine has been geotagging images as well, so they show up on the "map" feature as well as via augmented reality smartphone programs such as Wikitude, Robotvision, Layar, Geodelic, etc.

FOVA Twitter Feed:
Site updates, media releases and other timely notices or occurrences.

FOVA Facebook: "Fort Vancouver National Historic Site"
People can become a "fan" of Fort Vancouver NHS and post images, updates, etc.

FOVA Foursquare:
A location-based/geosocial networking program for mobile devices, it lets the user "check in" at places; earn points, badges, and mayorships. And share that information with friends. The fort, Village, & VC are officially set up and available for folks to check in and become mayor, etc.

Audio equipment list

Here is the list of audio equipment we plan to purchase soon to help with content production on this project:

This roughly $6,500 purchase is being funded by a Clark County Historical Promotion Grant (thanks again, Clark County Commissioners!). At the end of this project, the equipment will be donated to the Digital Technology and Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver (soon to be the Creative Media and Digital Culture program). Fort Vancouver Mobile videography specialist Tom Turner compiled this list of our needs (thanks again, Tom!).

A second lavaliere mic is part of another grant request. ... Anything else missing?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beta testers needed

We're looking for a few beta testers to work with early prototypes of the Fort Vancouver Mobile project. This particular stage of testing requires people to be in the 18 to 65 range, who are technologically savvy (preferably with experience using mobile devices) and interested in history (preferably of the 19th century era). If you are available, want to be involved and fit that profile, please send your contact information and availability for testing to: Thanks!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Developing separate graphics for our behind-the-scenes work on this project?

When corresponding about this Fort Vancouver Mobile project (writing grants, sending letters of inquiry, etc.), it would be helpful to have letterhead and other graphical support to give our materials a professional appearance and continuity. Dr. Dene Grigar of Washington State University Vancouver has designed this logo draft, with such goals in mind. What do you think? Should we have a separate look for our behind-the-scenes materials, like this? If so, what feedback would you give on this draft?

What do you think should be the first Fort Vancouver Mobile image users see?

Of the button choices below (or make another suggestion), what do you think should be the initial entry point for the Fort Vancouver Mobile application? What words should be below the image? Why? ...

Button candidate No. 3

The National Park Service arrowhead. Broadest appeal, the least local flavor.

Button candidate No. 2

The Fort Vancouver logo. ... Iconic local image.

Button candidate No. 1

The Village logo. Our initial work will be focused in The Village.

The button!

Well, we had to start somewhere with the coding of this project. So we, or I should say Joseph Oppegaard of Montana Banana Web Design (based in the Seattle area), took a Fort Vancouver logo and turned it into an app button for the Android platform (third row down, just to the right of email). It was a test more than anything and the text needs to be trimmed, but it is the first official digital artifact in this proof of concept stage. So hurrah! Or, I should say, Huzzah! ... For the real button, do you think this Village logo should be used, or should we start with a Fort Vancouver logo (that shows the stockade) or even the iconic National Park Service arrowhead (which Chief Ranger Greg Shine has OK'd for our use on this project)? I'll post all three individually, so you can look at them closer.