Thursday, December 23, 2010

App-ropriate Way to Learn About Boro: Go on Tour with Smartphone by Nicholas Horshon - NY Daily News

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Queens Borough Community College Professor Bruce Naples wants to create a iPhone app through the Locacios program that will provide a walking tour of the college campus.

Head southeast from the Frank Costanza abode, pass the "Men in Black" spaceship, arrive at Charlie Chaplin's house.
Soon, a smart phone app could lead visitors from Kaufman Astoria Studios to the Marx Brothers' home in Richmond Hill to dozens of famous TV and movie sites.
That's one of many ideas being explored by Borough Hall in response to the Daily News' five-month-long Queens Heritage Quest series, which concludes today.
The series included an Aug. 31 report in which historians advocated for a TV and movie trail. That concept impressed local leaders.
"That's what started it off and got us talking," said Queens tourism director Terri Osborne.
To realize the vision, Osborne is teaming with two professors at Queensborough Community College - drama instructor Mike Cesarano and Bruce Naples, who teaches website design.
Naples, 63, is testing an in-development iPhone app named Locacious that allows users to create and distribute walking tours.
Besides the movie and TV trail, Naples said he also wants to create similar tour apps for the Queensborough campus and his hometown, Richmond Hill.
"The beauty of that is people in the neighborhoods could create their own," he said.
The same technology could be applied to a trail of "ghost signs," or faded ads on brick buildings, which were also featured in the Queens Heritage Quest articles.
The series began in August after Queens' new borough historian, Jack Eichenbaum, said he wanted to be an "educator" rather than champion efforts to landmark buildings.
His remarks sparked debates over the historian's role and how Borough Hall could generate civic pride and lure tourists by honoring significant sites.
Activists proposed erecting historical markers and creating podcast-linked trails.
Apparently, Borough Hall was reading.
Osborne said she is considering a tribute for another series site - where television was unveiled with a milestone broadcast from the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Osborne and Eichenbaum are also backing visions for a Queens Hall of Fame lauding the borough's greatest residents, moments and places.
Laurence Christian, the hall's executive producer, hailed the series that "brought to light much of the great history that goes unrecognized."
Christian said he wants to honor Queens' film past with a "Men in Black" installation close to the New York State Pavilion, a key plot device in the 1997 film.
Borough President Helen Marshall, a former teacher, stressed the educational impact of historical markers and tours.
"You have a certain feeling of knowledge," she said. "Many people [who grew up locally] are grownups and don't realize what's been next to them all along."