Open Architecture to Augment Landmarks for Location-Based Services

Friday, October 8th, 2010

In the context of Images for the Future, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision R&D department has designed and developed a complete technical architecture to support (mobile) location-based services for cultural heritage. This October, Sound and Vision will launch the first implementation based on this architecture in the form of an iPhone application that offers mobile access to relevant audiovisual heritage related to war monuments.

The architecture developed by Sound and Vision is based on a Drupal installation that connects to relevant open content repositories (for now: Open Images, Flickr: The Commons and Wikipedia) using their respective API’s, and enables the creation of (mobile) location-based services for cultural heritage. Locations in the real world are linked to digital heritage available online. By building a location-aware application that utilizes the location information and related audiovisual heritage stored in the Drupal installation, users can access relevant information – based on their GPS location to enrich their on-site experience. The architecture also supports applications to enable users to contribute comments and images to the locations themselves.

To promote reuse and further development of the architecture and to ensure that other institutions can easily participate, the complete architecture is based on open source components. Because all information and relations to the online content are centrally stored, it is relatively easy to develop applications on top of the Drupal based architecture. Because the content is separated from the application, this also makes the applications very lightweight. Applications can be an iOS based application (like our first iPhone application), but with a similar effort this can also be an Android of Symbian based application.


ClosAR: A Multidisciplinary Research Project on Audiovisual Archives and AR

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Within the context of the Images for the Future project the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is – as mentioned before on this weblog – exploring potential of mobile and location-based access to digital heritage. The goal is to explore how digital heritage can be combined with mobile technology and location awareness to offer an augmented reality (AR) to different types of end users. In this context AR functions by augmenting the physical reality of end users with contextual information using digital means.

As part of this exploration Sound and Vision partnered with the V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media to initiate a multidisciplinary research project (later named ClosAR). The goal of the collaboration was explore new approaches to bring the audiovisual (AV) archive closer to its audience using innovative methods of presentation and interaction, such as augmented reality. The ClosAR group is comprised of five members with a background in new media studies, art science, industrial design engineering, and virtual games.

In their final report (you can download a PDF version here) Bas Bergervoet, Kate Cunningham, Aestha van Dam, Shauna Jin and Connie Yeh propose seven concept directions as possible starting points for Sound and Vision and V2_, with references to the background research and intermediate process:

The classic archive is static: a tomb where “official” documents, media, and information collect dust. Digital technology opens opportunities for information access and presentation, and most notably, participation. As the archive only exists to be accessed, the relationship between itself and its audience is quite important. Augmented reality (AR) brings dynamic information into the physical world. While Beeld en Geluid seeks to improve its visibility outside of its “Experience” and on- site archive search through mobile access, we explored the off-site extreme. How does moving the context of the archive open up possibilities for new interactions? What is the minimum amount of technology needed to achieve this?