Our aim is to bring the the physical world to life by populating it with viewpoints (stories and knowledge about places) currently locked away in books and in the minds of cultural experts.
So we’re aiming for a mass migration of human knowledge, memory and imagination, from inside books and brains out into the external world, accessible to all!
The Placecloud mission – to bring to life the millions of everyday places that surround us, so that we can have a more meaningful relationship with our world – is massively ambitious. It requires a huge number of high-quality viewpoints. The three activities are what will make it happen.
The three activities are:
1. Creating viewpoints
The core activity of the Placecloud project, placeclouders and experts alike create and publish viewpoints. With a diverse community producing diverse viewpoints from diverse sources (no matter how niche), a layer of knowledge, memory and imagination will soon emerge over the physical world, bringing it to life.
2. Voting on viewpoints
This is our quality control mechanism: a peer-review system. By actively listening to and voting on each others’ viewpoints, the community ensures that the official Placecloud map remains fascinating, moving, diverse and credible.
3. Sharing viewpoints
While voting ensures the quality of viewpoints, sharing ensures the quantity of viewpoints, the other ingredient required to achieve the Placecloud mission.
By sharing viewpoints, you encourage others to visit Placecloud, join the community, and start engaging in the three activities. And so the proliferation of high-quality viewpoints is perpetuated, filling the world with viewpoints!
Viewpoints are short (2-20 minutes) narratives that bring a place to life. They may contain knowledge, memory or imagination. Most viewpoints consist of passages read from books, though experts’ viewpoints often come from their own expert minds.
A ‘place’ may be a building, a tree, a park bench, the corner of a field, the turn in a lane, a street corner. No place is out of bounds on Placecloud.
From a technical point of view, viewpoints are simply homemade audio recordings combined with GPS co-ordinates, images and (where available) Google Street View imagery.
Absolutely not. We built Placecloud to be simple to use for anyone, regardless of their level of technology know-how. Everything is done inside Placecloud – you won’t need anything except a smartphone or computer.
The best place to find content for viewpoints is in books. Biography, history, travel, memoir, literary nonfiction, letters, geography, anthropology, etc.
One strategy, if you’re short on ideas, is to scan down the index of a book and look out for place names.
A happy side effect of making viewpoints from books is that your viewpoint acts as a little advertisement for the book, benefiting the authors and publishers.
Experts will of course make viewpoints not only from books but also from their own researches.
Our picking is very much an art rather than a science. That said, we have some basic guidelines:
- Niche is good
- Not already common knowledge
- Clean, clear audio (recorded surrounded by soft furnishings – see Guidelines)
- No background sounds or mouth sounds
- Slow speaking
- Crisp, clear Google Street View imagery
- Crisp, clear photographs
Any expert in a field associated with Placecloud, for example:
- An academic researcher interested in place through the lens of their discipline – e.g. an archaeologist, ethnographer, historian, literarian, geographer, etc.
- A published author of history, literary nonfiction, travel, biography, poetry, etc.
- A researcher associated with a cultural organisation – e.g. museums, archives, Historical Memory Organisations, Heritage NGOs, literary societies, etc.
- A local historian associated with a local history organisation
Placecloud’s street view tours platform combines Google’s Street View technology with a live video stream and chatbox to create a crystal-clear virtual city tour experience. Participants can join from anywhere in the world.
As a Placecloud expert, you set the ticket price. You keep 70% of net income from ticket sales (after VAT and a £0.50 per ticket service fee)