ROOFTOPS AT DAWN, Literative walk

The literature based interactive walk is based on the novel titled Rooftops at Dawn written by the celebrated Hungarian author, Géza Ottlik. The experience guides the user through the city as the story unfolds on location. In between parts of the story archive videos, photographs, articles collected in theme based multimedia galleries help evoke the era, Budapest in the 1930s.

kep1 (282K)

The beginning

A The first idea of the concept was born during coursework as part of the class of Digital Museum, a joint initiative of the Creative Technology Lab and the Institute for Theoretical Studies, where students were put to challenge the classical museum experience considering the possibilities of quickly developing everyday technology. Several Budapest museums took part as consulting partners during the course. The Museum of Literature was one of the, who chose the "Rooftops at dawn" concept to be realized at the end of the semester. The idea was purposly focused on a novel by the same title of the famous Hungarian author Géza Ottlik, whose 100th year anniversary was celebrated throughout 2012.

9 month later, the final product is the result of the cojoint work of the Creative Technology Lab, the Museum of Literature and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences' Computer and Automation Research Institute, e-Learning department.

The concept

The adaptation of the novel "Rooftops at dawn" is thriving to present the act of (book-) reading as a more attractive, loveable activity through a new, complex experience. Focusing on the idea of a literative peace to be experienced on location, the possibilities of the device makes it possible to extend the story not only in space, but in timel: by evoking the era readers are not only enabled to place the plot in its real sets, but to authentically recall the time period as well.

The application mixing interactivity with the traits of classic book-reading primarily addresses the younger generations with less likeliness of reading and already tech-savy smartphone users and, but it also has the potential to shed a new light on these technologiees for the older, more literature-adept users.

The experience (Hungarian)

Ottlik: Hajnali háztetők irodalmi séta from Creative Technology Lab on Vimeo.

Participants of the literary walk are to follow a fix route across the city, meeting the main characters of the story through the unfolding plot on location - some which are original some are assumed and some imagined. The text of the book can be listened an/or read, even quotes can be saved from it. The Budapest of the 1930s come alive on the screen In between parts of the novel, through the archive audiovisual galleries (articles, musics and parts of films, photographs) and by the original 1938 city map, the navigation is based on.

The 6 hour walk expands through 16 km, which - just like a book - does not have to be taken in at once - so the story can come together slowly reflecting on how it would be had the book been read.The route does not follow the original narravite of the novel and the users are provided with a calendar function: as a support to navigate on timeline of the story. kep1 (282K)

The technology

The improved version of the MTA SZTAKI's already existing locative technology based city-guide application called Guide@Hand was developed throughout the collaboration of the partners. After switching on the device's GPS connection the user is navigated both by audio and graphically on the map as visiting each stop sequentially the walk unfolds. Passing these points the audiovisual content is activated. The Rooftops at dawn is available both on iOS and on Android and can be downloaded freely from the App Store or from the Google Play since September 2012.
The Rooftops at dawn is available both on iOS or from the Google Play since September 2012.



Concept and content develoment, design:

  • Anna Jankó (MOME), Juli Mata (KTL), Júlia Oravecz (MOME)
  • MOME-KTL mentor: Zsófia Ruttkay

Graphic design:

  • András Köhút, Juli Mata


  • Szabó Amanda, Juli Mata

SZTAKI, e-Learning:

  • Balázs Wagner, Zsolt Márkus, Gábor Kaposi, Miklós Veres

Museum of Literature:

  • Júlia Wernitzer, Zsolt Bánki, Gergely Thúróczy, Gabriella Nyerges, János Elritz

Partner institutions:

Budapest History Musuem, Kiscelli Museum (BTM KM)
Fortepan (F)
Metropolitan Ervin Szabo Library, Budapest Collection (FSZEK BGY)
XXth (XX. Század)
Hungarian National Digital Archives (MaNDA)
Hungarian National Museum, Historical Photolibrary (MNM TF)
National Audiovisual Archives (NAVA)
National Széchényi Library (OSZK)
Museum of Literature (PIM)
Private Filmcollection Foundation (SUPER 8)
Special thanks to Saly Noéminek.

Media coverage here.
In Hungarian please click here.