CITY IN TIME brings Hong Kong’s extraordinary history back to life by transforming smartphones into magic ‘augmented reality’ windows contrasting 360-degree panoramic images of old Hong Kong with today’s surroundings.

CITY IN TIME can be experienced in person at various designated locations in Hong Kong, using a designated mobile app, or virtually on the CITY IN TIME website. The app allows you to use your smartphone camera to compare historical scenes with the present-day situation around you, while the web version compares them to panoramic photographs of the present-day environment. The historical scenes are supplemented with lively animations, informative descriptions of major landmarks, and selfie and sharing functions for uploading to social media platforms.

CITY IN TIME can also be experienced remotely on the CITY IN TIME website, with the locations virtually accessible.

CITY IN TIME is presented by the Tourism Commission and created by City University of Hong Kong, to enrich the experience of residents and visitors in Hong Kong using the combination of art and technology.

Artistic Statement

CITY IN TIME is a cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) project that offers Hong Kong residents and visitors a fully immersive way to experience the city’s extraordinary geographical and environmental transformation over time via their smartphone.

AR is a new technology that integrates digital images with the real world. It enables 360-degree historical panoramas of some of Hong Kong’s most visited and historically rich locations to be juxtaposed with the present-day surroundings so that users can simultaneously see Hong Kong past and present in some of its most visited and historically rich locations.

CITY IN TIME’s panoramas were created using historical photographs that were digitally assembled, as well as panoramic illustrations specially drawn and painted for the project by renowned Hong Kong artists. The panoramas were modelled in 3D so that optical tracking could be used to spatially align them with the actual environment, using AR.

Artistic Director
Jeffrey Shaw
Chair Professor,
Academy of Visual Art Director,
Visualization Research Centre
Hong Kong Baptist University

Creating the Project

Method of recreating the historical panoramas