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Augmented reality app to preserve original Welsh place names

03 Jul 2019 3 minute read

TroAn augmented reality app will be launched on Friday with the aim of preserving original Welsh place names and helping people to pronounce them.

Tro currently includes part of the northern section of the Offa’s Dyke National Trail from Prestatyn to Chirk.

After downloading the app and whilst on the path, the user’s phone will vibrate in their pocket when they are within the catchment area of a particular place.

It will then be possible to look at the view through the mobile phone’s screen, and the place names will appear in the correct locations. They can also hear how the place names are pronounced by a variety of local voices.

More can be learnt about the various names and locations, their meanings, their history and relevant legends by placing a finger on another small symbol next to any name.

The Minister for the Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan, said: “We have an ambitious plan to grow the number of Welsh speakers to a million by 2050.

“To achieve that, we need to make it as easy as possible for people to use Welsh in their day to day lives. That’s why making sure people can use digital technology through the medium of Welsh is vital.

“I’m very pleased the Welsh Government has been able to help fund the new TRO Mynyddoedd Pawb app, which is an incredibly exciting innovation.

“It will allow keen walkers to explore Welsh place names across the beautiful landscapes in north-east Wales in mixed reality on their digital device, all through the medium of Welsh.”

The idea for creating an app of landscape names was introduced following discussions at the end of conferences held by Mynyddoedd Pawb at Glan-llyn, Urdd Outdoor Activity Centre. Mynyddoedd Pawb, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB and Galactig are responsible for the app.

The Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 Grant was secured to support the project, this grant is given to projects with the potential to contribute towards the Government’s aim of having a million Welsh speakers in Wales by 2050. The project also collaborates with Menter Iaith Sir Ddinbych and Menter Iaith Fflint a Wrecsam.

Support was received by Hywel Wyn Owen and Ken Lloyd Gruffydd who gave permission to use the books Dictionary of the Place Names of Wales and Placenames of Flintshire as information sources for Tro.

Users can visit the website to download the app and find more information about local Welsh language events on Mentrau Iaith’s websites and more.

The app has been intended for the outdoor industry, local people, schools and visitors of all ages. The area of Clwydian Range and Dee Valley is the pilot area for this project.

The aim of the app is to stimulate interest in the Welsh language, increase the feeling of belonging within local communities, and create interest and raise awareness amongst visitors about the richness of our local heritage, and thereby bring educational and economic benefits to the specific areas.

Mynyddoedd Pawb have been campaigning to raise awareness of Welsh heritage in the outdoor industry in Wales for several years.

A petition was taken to the Assembly in 2015 trying to persuade the Welsh Government of the educational, economic and cultural values of  native place names.

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