Augmented reality book shows history of Rīga

A rather unusual book was launched last weekend. It is an album of historical photographs, entitled "A Walk Through Beautiful Riga/ Pastaiga pa skaisto Rīgu". The author is Kaspars Migla, co-author Andris Ivanovs.

The album includes photographs from the 1920s to the 1940s, i.e. the inter-war period. The aim of the album is to show how beautiful Riga looked after Latvia regained its independence.

But why is this edition unusual? Because - it is not just a simple collection of photographs, about half of them are augmented reality.

This means that almost 100 images in the book are accompanied by a special symbol, which, if you put your mobile phone next to it, allows you to see what the particular historical place looks like today, or watch a historical video related to the place.

The historical photograph on page 213 shows the corner of Elizabetes and Brīvības Streets, overlooking the once-famous "Piena restaurant" building. The photograph is accompanied by a symbol, which, if you put your phone to it, gives you a view of the place today. In the center of it we see the Hotel Latvija because the historic building was demolished to build this hotel.

In total, the album contains 220 historical images, 75 of which can also be seen in a modern version, and 20 images are accompanied by historical videos.

The videos also show, for example, how the Swedish Gate, the Andrejsala export terminal, the pontoon bridge and the airship flying over the Riga Orthodox Cathedral looked about 90 years ago.

The author of this ambitious project and compiler of the book is Kaspars Migla, co-author Andris Ivanovs, it was created in cooperation with the Latvian National Archives and the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, and the augmented reality feature was developed by the information technology (IT) community company Digital Innovation Park.

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