CURIOSDEMOFestCURIOS Mobile will operate as a smart phone based application for the Hebridean Connections’s (HC) archival data that will deliver the data to the user by a primary search based on their GPS position in the landscape, as provided by their smart phone. This will allow users to locate the historic knowledge available in the archive as they move around an area or specific site of historic interest. Relating the often hidden history of a place to it’s location in the landscape can create a more tangible and emotional realisation of the history and culture of that place for the visitor or indeed the non-visitor. The purpose is thus to further illuminate the historical landscape to improve the tourist experience so that they are both keen to stop as well as remain in an area.

Project Team

The academic team: Dr. David Beel, Dr. Hai Nguyen Prof. Chris Mellish, Prof. Claire Wallace, Prof. Pete Edwards.

Problem holder: Hebridean Connections – an online repository for historical societies in the Outer Hebrides.

SME: Bluemungus – app developers who are based in Edinburgh with extensive experience in  developing heritage based apps for mobile devices.

The Problem

Rural landscapes are rich with historical culture, however for most tourists passing through such spaces this knowledge is largely inaccessible. This is due to a variety of reasons: ‘top-down narratives’ can miss the finer details of historic sites and some communities are so disparately placed that traditional forms of knowledge collection and dissemination are impractical for visiting tourists to access. This is especially needed, as across rural Scotland, and particularly in the Outer Hebrides, there are a vast number of historical sites of interest that are both unmanned and which provide little or no information to visitors. This means that unless signposted many historic sites are pretty much invisible to anyone passing through the landscape. For the project partners HC, this is a major problem – how can we get people to stop and view interesting historic sites if they do not already know they are there? Added to this most heritage apps rely on having a heavy initial download before usage this can be exceedingly problematic for usage as well as leading to a very static and predictable tourist experience.

Project Goals

1. The research, development, delivery and evaluation of the CURIOS Mobile system prototype, which focuses on overcoming the problem of poor mobile connectivity, excessive download rates and unnecessarily prescriptive cultural experiences.

2. To use semantically linked archive data to deliver information based upon the movements of tourists and to predict what information they may want to see next based on that movement.

3. To showcase how making effective ‘front-ends’ to semantically linked data can improve accessibility, sustainability and use of that data.

4. To provide a new means of tourist engagement that allows community heritage groups to articulate their sense of historical place to visitors.