A good way for the participants, exhibitors and digital pioneers of CODE_n to discover Karlsruhe is the augmented history app “Stadtgeist Karlsruhe “(Spirit of the City of Karlsruhe). The app generates a fascinating kind of time travel: If you look at the geographic location of a “Stadtgeist”-mark through the camera of your smartphones, today’s environment is transformed into the historical scenario. The app was developed by Karlsruhe software company bluehands GmbH and was awarded with the German AppCampus award 2013. The app is a free of charge service of the City of Karlsruhe and is available on Android iPhone (from iPhone4s), or Windows phone. So get your smartphone ready and enjoy!
And suddenly, there’s marching music. This can happen quite often when you’re standing in front of the “Ständehaus” in Karlsruhe, which hosted before the Second World War one of the oldest parliament buildings in Germany. There you will most likely encounter someone who produces theses sounds with his smartphone or tablet. Perhaps this person also slowly turns around in 360 degrees, the hands with the tablet or phone stretched out in front of him. First-time users of the “Stadtgeist Karlsruhe” app will probably need two or three attempts to “hit the right spot” at the beginning of their augmented history-tour. But then they are given access to all the key details of a past period while allowing them to explore it through photos, videos and animated 3D-presentations – or audio files containing music and sound bites from that period.
Finding your way through Karlsruhe via the “Stadtgeist” app is easy: Once you have downloaded the app on App Store, Google Play or Windows Phone Store, you start the app and you are immediately redirected to an interactive map of the City of Karlsruhe. There you see in a bright orange color the 18 “Stadtgeist”-locations. Choose one of the locations, for example “Schloss Karlsruhe” (Karlsruhe Palace) and arrows show you the way around the streets like a navigation system. There is not one definite route to discover the city via app, you choose individually where you want to go and which stories do you want to hear. The big advantage of the “Stadtgeist” app is, if you don’t have the time to check out all the information on your visit, you can also have access of the data at home and let the tour pass in review – comfortable on you sofa.
Having celebrated its 300th birthday last year, Karlsruhe may not be among the oldest towns in Germany, nevertheless the city can look back on an eventful history. Already the foundation of the city was quite remarkable: Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden decided to build his new residence in the middle of a forest, at the time an impenetrable wilderness. Thirty-two streets and paths radiate from this point like the rays of the sun. The view from the palace tower onto this pattern of roads also impressed Thomas Jefferson, who later became president of the USA. He used Karlsruhe’s layout as a source of inspiration for his new capital, Washington D.C.
There is much more to discover in Karlsruhe, or did you know that it was the hometown of Carl Benz, inventor of the automobile, and Baron Drais von Sauerbronn, inventor of the velocipede, an early forerunner of the bicycle? Also, Heinrich Hertz discovered the radio waves while he was a professor at the University of Karlsruhe. Interesting facts, funny anecdotes and moving stories about the people of Karlsruhe throughout the centuries – take your time to discover the past of the city with modern technology. Go on a quest and find the buildings, which no longer exist. They will appear on the display of your phone like a ghost, when you pass their former location – making you feel the “Spirit of the City of Karlsruhe”!
For further information please check the website: stadtgeist-karlsruhe.de (only in German)