'Project 2173' - ArchivalDetective App

Project Info

Team 2173 - ArchivalDetective thumbnail

Team Name

Team 2173 - ArchivalDetective

Team Members

Jo , Joshua , Andrew

Project Description

Archivist Detective - Unearthing Forgotten History Through Immersive Exploration


In a rapidly changing world, it's easy for history to fade into obscurity. The Archivist Detectives present a groundbreaking solution to this challenge - an innovative mobile application that revitalizes forgotten archives, engages communities, and unveils the captivating stories that lie dormant within historical records.

The Problem:

Many valuable archival records languish in obscurity, disconnected from the present and the people who could appreciate them. Despite having access to an extensive repository of historical images within the ACT Memory, these records are largely overlooked. The data remains inaccessible, uninspiring, and fails to capture the attention of individuals who would cherish a connection to their region's history.

Our Solution:

The Archivist Detectives propose a revolutionary mobile application that bridges the gap between forgotten archives and modern engagement. Our solution is a user-friendly app designed to encourage exploration, interaction, and education. By transforming the process of accessing historical data into an immersive experience, we aim to make history come alive for students, community members, and tourists.

Benefits and Target Audience:

Our innovative app is tailored to cater to a diverse audience:

  • Tourists: Enhance their understanding of the region's cultural and historical significance.
  • Locals: Forge a stronger connection to their surroundings and heritage.
  • Students: Foster a deeper appreciation for history through interactive learning.

App Features and Workflow:

  • Geographical Mapping: Users can pinpoint their location or choose a location on the map.
  • Historical Scavenger Hunt: Users embark on a captivating scavenger hunt through Ngunnawal country, uncovering historical markers.
  • Immersive Experience: Scanning QR codes at these markers triggers an immersive journey into the past. Users view historical images and hear audio descriptions while immersed in era-specific music.
  • User-Generated Content: Users can contribute by recording and uploading their own stories related to the historical marker.
  • Accessibility: The app ensures inclusivity, offering audio descriptions for the visually impaired and transcriptions for the hearing impaired.
  • Gamification: Users progress from novice to expert levels, earning experience points that unlock exclusive discounts at local businesses.

App Design:

Load in layout of the app. Load in layout of the app.
Load in layout of the app. Load in layout of the app.
Load in layout of the app. Load in layout of the app.


In recent years, the market has been flooded by mobile phone applications like Pokemon Go, making it an extremely competitive environment in which to launch an app. Our app is unique in its approach by combining a local historical scavenger hunt with a multi-modal experience. To do this and create a fully immersive experience, we will use technology such as geographical markers linked to images, text-to-speech readers, music, and the opportunity for the local users to engage with the historical dataset of ACT Memory. Furthermore, they can add their own significant stories by attaching audio files to historical images to which they are scanned and checked against a profanity filter and then connected.

As mentioned previously, there are accessibility options for students, locals and tourists with hearing or vision impairment. By having an audio description (AD) attached to each image, the important visual elements of the archival data will be narrated as music from the era is played in the background, allowing users with a vision impairment to engage with the data. Similarly, audio content which provides historical context of the image will be captioned for users with a hearing impairment.

Another differentiating function of the Archival Detective app is to incentivise participation. As users engage with the historical data, they will gather points linked to levels of achievement: novice, intermediate and expert. Once they have achieved certain levels of mastery, the app will use geolocation to unlock rewards from community partners within the users’ vicinity. It is predicted that industry partners will have increased foot traffic by engaging in this relationship with the ACT Government.

Finally, our app is distinctive in its approach to socio-economic equity. As the cost of living rises, many people in our community are looking for cost-effective ways to entertain their families, getting outside on country, and participate in their region. Our app achieves that in an educative way by ensuring that the existing infrastructure - our beautiful walking paths - continues to be built upon through this project.

Societal Impact:

  • Cultural Value: Preserve and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Ngunnawal country, honouring the First Nations’ people.
  • Historical Value: Revive forgotten stories and ensure they are accessible to current and future generations.
  • Environmental Engagement: Encourage individuals to explore their surroundings and connect with nature.


The Archivist Detective app rejuvenates the past, offering an engaging and educational experience that connects people with history. By exploring forgotten archives in an innovative and immersive manner, we ensure that our history remains vibrant, relevant, and accessible for generations to come.

#app #design #history #education #communication

Data Story

For this project, the ArchivesACT image dataset that contains historical moments recorded from the last 20 years in Canberra was utilized. While our team only used these for the analysis of the project and the pitch, several enhancements would be necessary to make the dataset usable for the app, such as:

Geographical Context:

To enhance the user experience and offer a more immersive journey into the past, the app dev team would need to augment the dataset with longitude and latitude positions for each image. This spatial context will allow users to connect the historical images with their precise geographical locations, enabling them to explore the changes that have occurred over time in specific areas of Canberra.

Fact-Checking and Historical Information:

The app dev team would need to ensure the accuracy of the historical information. This would entail undertaking a meticulous fact-checking process to verify the historical details associated with each image in the dataset. This involves cross-referencing information, consulting historical records, and collaborating with experts to authenticate the context and significance of each image.

Enrichment with Historical Information:

As part of the dataset enhancement process, the app dev team will need to curate and add relevant historical information to accompany each image. This will help users delve deeper into the stories behind the visuals, and provide users with a comprehensive understanding of the historical context surrounding each image.

Evidence of Work


Project Image

Team DataSets


Description of Use Our team used this dataset in the pitch and analysis, of the viability of the app as our team was only made of 3 individuals. However, if this app was developed by a team of app developers the dataset would be extensively used as historical images.

Data Set

Challenge Entries

Making public archives more accessible

Online catalogues, like ACT Memory, provide information about government records and, where possible, provide copies of the records themselves. These records are generally in PDF or JPEG format. This makes the documents difficult to search for, access, and use. How might governments with record catalogues, like ACT Memory, solve this problem and make these rich sources of information more useful?

Go to Challenge | 7 teams have entered this challenge.