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Visit Guam's historic village through Augment Reality app

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Visit Hagatna and experience the nostalgia of Guam's historic village without having to be there physically.

Just click away and the place will come to you via App Bisita: Historic Guam

which was launched this week by the University of Guam's Micronesian Area Research Center.

"The Bisita app is the result of years of research conducted at MARC. Historic and contemporary maps, photographs, and written records were meticulously analyzed to recreate Hagåtña's architectural landscape," said Dr. Carlos Madrid, director of research and professor of Spanish Pacific History at MARC.

Assisted by UOG graduate Thomas R. Tyquiengco, Madrid conducted the research and spearheaded the development in collaboration with Isostopy Inc. using grant funding from the Ministry of Culture of Spain.

"This free application, leveraging state-of-the-art technology, offers an immersive experience by digitally reconstructing the city of Hagåtña as it existed in 1890," UOG said in a press release.

"With enhanced reality technology, users can explore iconic landmarks such as the Tollai Åcho' (San Antonio Bridge), the Plaza de España, the Church of the Dulce Nombre de Maria and Fort Santa Agueda in Apugan," UOG said.

The app enables visitors, tourists and local residents to embark on a virtual journey through the historical capital of the Mariana Islands. Whether from the comfort of their homes or while walking the streets of present-day Hagåtña, users can engage with the rich history and culture of the region.


The digital reconstruction unveils multiple previously unknown features of the city, including the layout of historic houses and the Almacen's shape and distribution.

Also featured is the Hagåtña River, which is integral to the city's history from ancient times until WWII.

Sound effects, voiceovers in English and Spanish and a timeline of Guam's history further enrich the user experience.

"This creates new ways to share Guam’s rich history and culture with its residents and visitors," said Dr. Fred Schumann, UOG professor and cultural tourism expert.

"Enhancing their experiences at heritage sites, as this app truly does, is a critical endeavor, especially during contemporary times and changeable generations," added Schumann, who participated in the project.

Bisita: Historic Guam includes a section that allows users to travel inside the Government Palace, the former colonial seat of government, with detailed recreations of its rooms and furnishings as they were in 1890.

The app's versatility extends beyond tourism and academics, potentially serving as a digital background for historical films or eventually being used in video games. Dr. Madrid envisions that app can expand to other areas and villages of Guam

“Kudos to Dr. Madrid and his research and development team on the launch of the Bisita: Historic Guam app," said Anita Borja Enriquez, UOG president.

“The app exemplifies the University of Guam's dedication to educational innovation and cultural preservation through the Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center. Users can immerse themselves in Guam's past, engaging with some our island's historical landmarks in a truly interactive and accessible way. "

Bisita: Historic Guam features:

To navigate the app, users can click on different levels or slide side to side on the touch screen to access various sections, including travel to Hagåtña, travel to the Government Palace, or travel to the Virtual Museum.

Upon selecting the Travel to Hagåtña section, users should point their device screen towards a floor, table or any flat surface, allowing the grey grid to be placed on the screen.

Once the grid is positioned, clicking the crossed arrows on the side banner will display on-screen controls for navigating the city. To zoom in, users can use the horizontal red bar. Additionally, other controls allow users to move up and down in the air or move forward and backward at different speeds. Users can also navigate by physically moving the device itself.

Further features of the side banner include the possibility of laying a grid of the contemporary streets of Hagåtña, or to display white vertical cones on top of some of the city’s landmarks.

By clicking on those cones, one can learn more about that particular location by reading the description or clicking on the voice-over button.

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