Want to “Explore” 9/11 in Augmented Reality? There’s An App For That

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum will not be open for another year, so to tide over the hungry masses, they have released an iPhone app (free!) just in time for tomorrow’s anniversary. It’s called “Explore 9/11,” and what does it offer? From the Memorial’s website:

  • A seven-stop walking tour of points of interest around the World Trade Center site. Vivid pictures and audio narration bring this experience to life. Details of about what happened on 9/11 and in the aftermath are told by first responders, rescue workers, volunteers and lower Manhattan residents…
  • An “explore” option reveals 9/11-related images that were taken nearby the users’ locations (using GPS).  The augmented reality mode overlays 9/11 photos when using the camera view…
  • An interactive timeline provides a chronicling of the day’s events and aftermath.
Having spent a few hours playing with the app, we found it to be slick, educational and unrelenting, making it an appropriate preview for the forthcoming museum. The photos it displays draw on the Memorial’s immense archive of pictures submitted to them by ordinary people—a kind of Flickr curating that suits the iPhone perfectly. 
The 9/11 Memorial is not the first city museum with a dedicated iPhone app. They were beaten to the table by the Museum of Natural History and MoMA, which unveiled apps this summer. But none of them can touch the Brooklyn Museum, whose handheld version of their collection is already at version 1.30!