UQ creates atlas smartphone app

19 January 2015

A new, free smartphone application offers a guide to the locations and landscapes that provide the backdrop for Australia’s most-loved films, novels and plays.

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The CultureMap Application is a mobile version of the Cultural Atlas of Australia, which was developed by researchers in the University of Queensland’s School of Communication and Arts.
The application is an interactive map depicting more than 1,000 locations referred to in about 180 iconic works.
Associate Professor Jane Stadler, leader of the Cultural Atlas project, said the app would be convenient for students, researchers, and cultural tourists.
“It is location-sensitive, so when you open it you can see what narratives are set or filmed nearby,” she said.
“You can search for your favourite film or author, for example, or browse the locations plotted on the map.”
The app also provides environmental and scientific information for films and novels set in areas with unique or threatened ecosystems, or those with science-related themes like cloning.
“This ‘ecocultural showcase’ will be of particular interest to students and travellers who are interested in the ways in which Australian films and novels foreground environmental concerns or feature environmentally sensitive regions,” Dr Stadler said.
Featured ecocultural case studies are in the Pilbara, where the films Japanese Story and Red Dog were set, and Victoria’s high country, the location for the film The Man from Snowy River.
Dr Stadler said she hoped the accessibility of the CultureMap app would encourage people to contribute more images and information.
“The atlas is designed so people can participate in developing it,” Dr Stadler said.
“We’re inviting the public to contribute photos of locations and their personal knowledge about the settings of specific narrative places or events in Australian cinema, literature, and play scripts.”
Contributions are welcome with directions to a location, or information about why a location is significant.
The app is available for Apple and Android devices, and can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.
The Cultural Atlas and App were funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant and an Inspiring Australia grant from the Department of Industry and Science. The research team includes UQ’s Dr Stephen Carleton and Queensland University of Technology researcher Dr Peta Mitchell.
The Cultural Atlas of Australia is on Facebook.
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