/ Jana Völker

DBIS research group meets Heimatschutz Basel

DBIS research group meets Heimatschutz Basel

Loris Sauter speaks at the annual meeting of Heimatschutz Basel

In the course of the annual meeting of Heimatschutz Basel on Thursday, November 7th 2019 the app GoFind! was presented to the club members. The central question of the evening was how to preserve the accumulated knowledge, the experiences and impressions that are connected with a city or a place and how to make it accessible. For more than a century Heimatschutz Basel has been committed to preserve the city’s historic buildings as well as the stories they tell.

The Databases and Information Systems (DBIS) research group has developed an app called GoFind! that can help with this task and give its users a glimpse into the past. »We as researchers aim to preserve knowledge« says Loris Sauter from the DBIS research group as he begins his speech. Many people live in one place for several decades or even for their entire lives. They generate knowledge about this place, witness its development and record their impressions, for example in the form of pictures. All this information that different people collect over long periods of time are valuable resources that could be made accessible through GoFind!. Currently DBIS researchers particularly focus on footage showing public spaces and buildings in Basel. In order to make this material accessible, historic pictures of the city were collected and characterized on the basis of various features. Smartphone-generated digital images usually already have meta-information that indicate the location where the images were taken. When it comes to older, analogue pictures this information must be annotated retroactively.

GoFind!-users can view images that will be shown to them based on their location and other characteristics that accurately represent the place where they are currently situated. They could, for example, look around on the present Barfüsserplatz while at the same time view images of the 1930s Barfüsserplatz, when there was still a large car park.

The work of Heimatschutz Basel is focused around the »mediation between the past and the future« in an ever-changing living space. Applications like GoFind! can help to make this mediation possible.