Workshop on 3D Heritage on the mobile web – Part Three

‘Mobile Heritage applications: the case of the Gorafe Dolmens’ by Jon Arambarri, VirtualWare and Jaime Kaminski, University of Brighton

Jon gave a short presentation on the VirtualWare services on virtual and augmented reality applications. (for more information go to This presentation considered how a mobile app has been used to augment a wider strategy of providing visitor information about the archaeological landscape in the region of Gorafe, Spain. It also, considered both the technology used and the potential to benefit the local economy.

Some highlights of this talk:

Virtualware for cultural heritage : products like virtual fly-throughs and augmented reality for in-doors and outdoors. Generating awareness of the archaeological monument is a given locality.

The Gorafe mobile application relies on the following principles:

  • Variables: such as geography
  • Potential to increase length of stay
  • Part of a broader strategy (part of a broader strategy of a region)

Individual and group brainstorming on 4 scenarios:

This session included group discussions focused on eliciting user requirements for the 3D mobile web area. This was achieved by envisioning new applications and their requirements supported by user scenarios. More specifically, each participant was asked to think of possible applications (regardless of technical or institution policies limitations) which would be appropriate to 4 given scenarios: the archaeological excavation scenario, the cultural tourism scenario, the city open museum scenario and the preservation of tangible heritage scenario. The ideas were summarised on a post it note on the relevant thematic board. Finally, participants were divided into groups of 5 and discussed the scenarios on the basis of:

  1. Possible future systems
  2. How do we get there?

1. Archaeological excavation scenario:

An archaeologist is the finds supervisor at an excavation taking place on a Roman fort on what was the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. He is equipped with a mobile device, which supports many of the activities he undertakes at the site. The excavations have produced many different sherds of pottery, building material and metalwork which he has recorded. He has sought additional information on finds he cannot identify so as to understand where they came from. In doing this, he has sought advice remotely from different experts who have provided specific information on the finds.

The applications proposed belonged to one of the three categories:

  • A shared database of 3D artefacts, open and linked to a mobile application
  • On-site mobile 3D scanning of artefacts and annotation capabilities

2. Cultural Tourism scenario

Peter, his wife Laura and his two children Ben and Amy are visiting Greece for three weeks. Peter has always had an interest in Greek history, while Laura is more interested in Greek food and the kids having fun. As this is the first time they have visited Greece, they have scheduled a visit to the Parthenon and other important sites in Athens, and are also hoping to travel across the region to discover more about Greek civilisation. They are hoping to use their mobile devices to access information about Greek classical heritage wherever it is located, the sites and places they will be visiting, update their itinerary as well as create some mementos of they hope will be a holiday to remember.

The applications proposed belonged to one of the three categories:

  • Planning and practicalities of visit
  • Heritage content
  • Producing memories

3. City open museum scenario

Fifteen year old Linda is visiting London for a school trip aimed at learning how the capital has changed through the centuries. She is accompanied by her classmates, all of who are carrying a personal mobile device and other portable devices provided by the school. They have been arranged in small groups of five to make it easy to travel around the city with a teacher. All of them are hoping to have fun as well as to learn something new. Their visit will not be confined to the museums, but they will be learning about history of the capital in locations where historical events have taken place. In fact, many buildings are no longer standing, and many objects have been moved to different museums across the city. In order to complete their school project, they will need to produce an interactive assignment with records of what they have learnt and their experience.

Results from brainstorming indicated that most participants were keen on:

  • AR application
  • Recording and assessment of experience


  • High quality 3dmodels
  • Minimum user intervention
  • Automatic detection of issues in the buildings or monuments( e.g. Broken parts, dmagaes)
  • Automatic real-time notification should be triggered when a building or monument in danger
  • All issues (automatically or user led)detected on the building and monuments should be fully documented for inspection

4. Preservation of Tangible Heritage scenario:

Paolo is the regional director of heritage for an area in north of Italy. His job is to ensure that the region’s heritage buildings and monuments are preserved and conserved, because this encourages tourism. However, there are so many sites in his region that he cannot hope to monitor them all by himself. Instead he relies on the daily use of mobile devices by the thousands of locals and visitors to the area. By living around or visiting the heritage sites of the region, numerous pictures and environmental information are generated on a daily basis. Paolo knows of the existence of this data and he is interested in having it delivered to his personal mobile device, so that he can know at any time the status of the sites in his region. In this way he can determine if there are any issues or signs of deterioration and thus devote his limited resources to the neediest sites.


The main points and topics addressed during the discussion – Cultural Heritage and Open Museum scenario:

  • In order to create mobile applications with linked data- no matter how sophisticated or simple- first we need to ensure that institutions and CH organisations start actually to share their data and their digital collections.
  • An important question for the development of crowd sourced (3D) mobile services and a user generated CH content is how far people are willing to give away information about where they have been, with whom they interacted.
  • Equally, will institutions allow the capture and dissemination of CH artefacts by visitors, and if yes under which conditions and copyrights’ scheme?
  • The expectations of mobile augmented reality applications came out very strongly from the different discussion groups. Is augmented reality ready to fulfil these expectations or is it still a long way before the mainstream adoption? In my group we even discussed the digital repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles via an augmented reality application.


Back to Part Two