Using the “Lost Rivers” App

Part of the exciting historical research and scholarly output is making interventions using emerging technologies and taking advantage of the ubiquity of mobile devices. One of this project’s aims is to re-articulate and “daylight” history that is often left buried in the corners of archives.

Below is a walk through of using the app, Lost Rivers.


Upon clicking through the main screen, you see two circles where to place your thumbs to activate a “dowsing rod” which will help you find the locations of the once-flowing rivers.


Clicking on the “Map” view will pull up a Google map that has a layer of checkpoints where fascinating stories reside, and also highlight where the river used to flow. Sometimes you might find yourself standing right above it!


While walking around the city you might notice some trace of a river, such as a stream near Mont Royal, or perhaps a severe crack in a foundation that looks like it’s sinking. The app lets you upload and document the photo(s) to participate.


When clicking on a check point, a front image will show up with the title, and a further description below. The left side icons take you to check out the larger map, favorite a check point, return to the dowsing rod, take a photo for yourself or submit evidence to the project.


When clicking through different checkpoints, micro-narratives based on historical accounts are presented with corresponding relevant photos, maps or documents.


If you want to read through the micro-narratives without using the map, they are all laid out by river in the “Rivers” section. The icons represent the river and are used as checkpoints on the larger map for ease of identification.