Sept. 9, 2011 -- As One World Trade Center rises in Lower Manhattan, three smartphone apps are helping to ensure that its larger predecessors and the stories they housed will forever be remembered and have a place in the New York City skyline.
Brian August, creator of the app 110 Stories, found the void the Twin Towers left troubling.
"I would draw pictures of the skyline and put the missing towers in," August told ABC News.
Originally inspired to create physical art installations that would place the towers in the skyline when they were viewed from a specific perspective, August, who's 50 and lives in Brooklyn, decided to create an app so that people could experience the towers from many locations. The app allows anyone within eyesight of where the towers stood to see an outline of them superimposed on the landscape and take a photo.
"The project really beautifully blends the lines between an art project and a tech project," August said. "The image of the towers that you're seeing through the app is very agnostic, it's simple looking. It's a symbol of the towers, it looks like the towers, but it's just an outline and it's kind of ghostly in the way it looks. It's beautiful."
Once users take a photo with the outline of the towers, they can add a note to it and share it through the app.
"I want people to use the app to express their feelings," August said. "Those stories get pinned to a map on the website and get maintained as a repository of our collective feelings about the stories we associate with the buildings."
110 Stories can be downloaded for free and August says he views his app as a gift to people who want to remember the towers and to the generations who will never see them.
"How am I going to tell my nephew, or when I have a kid, that there were these two giant, immense structures there that no matter how big I try to explain to you they [were], I can't even do it justice."
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Explore 9/11 is the official app of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The app guides users on audio and photo tours of the site, offers a timeline of the event and uses GPS to display photos that were taken near where the user is standing.
"There is a real sense of intimacy and of closeness when you hear people's stories through your headphones or through your iPhone. That's something that makes it a very, very personal memorial experience," said Jake Barton, principal and founder of Local Projects, the company that designed the app. "Explore 9/11 becomes really this channel of almost direct accounts from people who saw and made history on that day. And so the phone in some ways becomes the perfect threshold for people to pass from the present moment into the past as they literally cup the phone to their ears to hear what exactly it was like to live through that day."
Barton says the app works as a living history of the World Trade Center site, constantly being updated so it not only tells the story of 9/11, but also the evolution and rebuilding of ground zero.
Local Projects also created the app Memorial Guide for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Memorial Guide, which will be released on Sunday, allows visitors to the site to learn about and see photos of the 2,983 individuals whose names are engraved around the two memorial pools. The app also enables people to search for and find specific names on the memorial as well as understand how the names are organized based on interpersonal relationships.
Both Explore 9/11 and Memorial Guide can be downloaded for free.