Visitors to Holy Island will soon benefit from a mobile app developed by Newcastle based Neil Wilson Design for the Holy Island Partnership. The app allows visitors to point a mobile telephone or device at designated spots around the island then have images and information superimposed upon the view. Information of historical interest will be coupled with tourist and wildlife information allowing visitors to further understand the unique island, its history and habitats.

The object of the exercise is to enhance the visitors experience while encouraging them to explore Holy Island beyond the castle, Priory and harbour. It is hoped to promote the island from a local perspective by using stories from local people and work by local artists.

Neil Wilson Design owner Neil Wilson said:

It has been an exciting project bringing the latest technology to historic Holy Island and I am sure it will enhance the visitor’s experience. The information provided will encourage visitors to learn more about the island, its history, wildlife and culture. One aspect of the app that we particularly like is the ability to provide the location and history of the many shipwrecks that surround Holy Island since these cannot be easily located from the shoreline. For the future, the possibilities are limitless as the app can provide tide times, emergency contact numbers as well as details of local businesses or accommodation. Almost everybody carries a mobile phone and this is all that is required to access a wealth of information about the features in front of the visitor.

Seasonal information can be provided such as details on migrating or nesting birds, the activities of marine life or flowers in bloom and their location. It is possible to superimpose a photograph to show what a street or road looked like one hundred years ago and provide details of industry and agriculture at that time. This project is a prime example of augmented reality helping visitors to understand the landscape and features they are experiencing."

Senior app developer Mark Bawden said:

There were some interesting technical challenges in developing the app but it was a joy to bring the latest information technology to this historic landscape."

Holy Island Partnership Development Officer David Suggett said:

Neil Wilson (left), owner, and Mark Bawden, senior app designer, Neil Wilson Design

Neil Wilson (left), owner, and Mark Bawden, senior app designer, Neil Wilson Design

The prototype mobile app has been developed to help maximise to the visitor experience to Holy Island in a way which enables us to minimise the impact of interpretation on the natural environment. Whilst we also hope to develop more tradition interpretative features to help guide visitors on their visit, we hope the development of a mobile application will offer flexibility and choice to visitors seeing Holy Island both before and during their visit.

Working with Neil Wilson Design has been a productive and creative experience. The team is experienced in the technical wizardry that goes behind the app but also responsive to our creative needs in terms of how we want to promote the island to visitors."

Neil Wilson Design is currently in discussion with a number of north east tourism bodies and attractions to further develop the tourist app concept across the region.

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