Lens Flare Stillwater Launches New Travel Web Site and APP

Experience The Time Tunnel Through Stillwater’s History
Lens Flare Stillwater Launches New Travel Web Site and APP.

June 30, 2017
By Robert Molenda

Stillwater, Minnesota. Lens Flare Stillwater, a not for profit project funded by The Stillwater Area Foundation announces its new web site and FREE APP to visitors, tourists and residents. This project won The Great Idea competition in 2016. The project objective provided a web-based APP for your mobile device that enables you to carry the history of Stillwater in your pocket while travelling through a geo-location time tunnel.

Imagine that you are standing in front of Terra Springs Condominiums in Stillwater. You go to the http://www.lensflarestillwater.org web site and activate the browser based APP. The APP senses your geo-location and when you are inside the geo-fence of a historical location, the device is triggered to show a photo of how that same location appeared at some previous point in the past. In this case, the Terra Springs location was the Territorial Prison, one of the early (1850’s) buildings in Stillwater. In addition to the photo are text and audio narratives along with other photos of the location. When you walk into the geo-fence of a different nearby historic location, a new photo and information automatically appear on your mobile device.

The APP is integrated into the web site for a seamless transition from one to the other for additional historical information. In this way, we connect to Google Maps 360 to see the same location as it appears today, along with other surprises. The APP is unique and the combination of the APP with the web site is synergistic and interactive for telling stories in a different way.

The APP enhances your experience while actually visiting Stillwater. To experience historic Stillwater from an armchair, people use the web site by itself.

The software for the APP is powered by LodeStar, an authoring tool provided by LodeStar Learning Systems, a Minnesota Company that sells learning software to Educators. Director for Online Learning at Metropolitan State University, Mr. Robert Bilyk says,”To view the town of Stillwater through the lens of the past, the group has combined the arts of storytelling and photography with the new technology of mobile phones and geo-location-aware applications.”

Dr. Molenda, a retired 3M research manager and marketer heads up a small volunteer group of history buffs who provide the content, narratives and populate the software fields for this project. “The content is a tribute to Mr. John Runk, an early photographer who collected and archived his and other photos of Stillwater for historical purposes”, says Molenda. “From what I know of him, he would have felt right at home with this project.”

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