Finish line in sight for FHNAS history travel application

After three years of work, History Check mobile aplication set to launch in September

Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

Most people would not know how many cemeteries are in northern Alberta, but local historian Sheila Willis would; luckily for the rest of us there’s an app called History Check that can supply such information.
The Leader has written previous updates on the three-year-long venture that Willis and group Friends of Historical Northern Alberta Society (FHNAS) have been working on. Recently we got wind that the app is scheduled to launch within a few weeks and thought another update couldn’t hurt.
For those who don’t know, as Willis puts it, History Check is an IOS and Android app that uses ‘points of interest’ to mark and tell historical stories along other attractions and services you may need during a trip.
“We have very close to 2,300 sites now on the app,” says Willis. “People are telling me that is a lot, but it is just a drop in the barrel.”
The beta version of the app, shown to your Leader reporter, looked pretty impressive to say the least. It has a search engine, a ‘near me’ feature, maps and links to attractions.
“I’m still working on adding keywords into the search engine part,” says Willis.
As previously mentioned, FHNAS decided to create History Check back in January 2015, Willis says it’s been quite the process and glad it’s finally shaping up.
“I think once people see what the app entails, it will catch on like wild fire…the whole nine yards has gone into this!” says Willis.
According to Willis, various grants, fundraisers and donations have been key in making this a reality for FHNAS.
“We are looking for sponsors to make the app self-sustainable,” she says. “Our advertising year will run from October to September and costs $350. Right now we have hardly any, but once it’s launched and they see what they received in return, I’m sure we will get more.”
The official date set for the app’s soft launch is September 24th, 2017.
“The provincial archives down in Edmonton have agreed to host our launch party; there will be History Check demos and a chance to ‘sign the scroll,’” says Willis. “There are just too many supports to write down all by myself, so I had the idea that individuals, organizations and groups can sign themselves on a scroll.”
Aside from the launch, Willis says History Check has been nominated for the Duncan Craig LLP Laurel Awards. Gold, silver and bronze winners are presented each year with honourariums of up to $5,000.
“We’re asking for support from the community so we can try to win the audience choice award,” says Willis. “During the event there will be a live Twitter feed that people can vote on. We want to blow them out of the water! This could make a real difference for Northern Alberta.”
For more information on History Check, contact Willis at sheila.willis@fhnas.ca.

Points of interest around Slave Lake on the History Check map.

This is what a community point of interest page looks like. The one pictured above is for Smith and includes different attractions and services.

 

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