Sydney’s heritage now at one’s fingertips Reply

by Richard Brandt

Visitors to Sydney will now be able to take walking tours guided by a phone app. Photograph by kevgibbo used under Creative Commons licence.

Visitors to Sydney will now be able to take walking tours guided by a phone app. Photograph by kevgibbo used under Creative Commons licence.

Walkers can now tour Sydney’s art and heritage sites for free with a new smartphone app launched by the City of Sydney. Sydney Culture Walks offers six guided tours of the city featuring historical landmarks, four tours explaining public artworks and information on a further four hundred individual points of interests. The app is part of the Council’s plan to promote “a cultural and creative city”.

Matthew Moore, media officer with Sydney City Council, says, “The app provides extra context to points of interest that may not have signs or other information onsite. The idea of the app is to help people discover (and rediscover) the stories behind what makes Sydney great.”

The Council commissioned Melbourne-based developers We Make Apps to undertake the technical production of the app. Developer Mick Byrne says the project was “a major undertaking between ourselves and many different arms of the City of Sydney, especially their marketing, historians and art and culture teams.

“Much of the content for the app already existed within the City of Sydney’s archives, but it was a significant project to bring that content to the surface in a way that made sense for the app,” he says

“We work with all sorts of organisations and businesses in the development of smartphone apps and we’re constantly surprised at how forward thinking the City of Sydney is.”

Historical societies have responded positively to the app. Bev Brooks, of the City of Sydney Historical Association, says the app “has done a great job” with its design and content.

“There are two major audiences who will really benefit; newcomers to the area are always eager to learn more about the history and things to see. And schools who come here on excursions and this app will be invaluable,” she says

The Council identified school groups as part of its target market and the app will provide an opportunity to engage a younger audience with the city’s heritage and art culture via social media.

“Version 1.0 of the app does have social sharing built in, so we’re able to expose the rich content to our users’ social networks. We’re also looking at ways to feed user generated social media content into the app, to ‘close the loop’ so to speak,” Bev Brooks says.

The app is available now for both iPhone and Android smartphones.

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