(Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts, Muncie, USA)

Keywords: augmented reality, locative application, cultural heritage, iOS

The IDIA Lab at Ball State University created their Virtual Companion app as a custom augmented reality app employing LocusEngine technology – a geolocative process developed by IDIA Lab. Visitors to a site employ the app to aid in learning and discovery while exploring any outdoor site. Using GPS data, the user’s position is geolocated in reference to the historical sites, allowing the app to display relevant content as a dynamic guide. This approach can be applied in cultural heritage, archeology, the sciences and the arts.
The pilot project digitally illuminates an Adena-Hopewell native American earthen mounds site. This project engages asynchronous Interactive menus, as well as the user’s live location in the park – displayed via a series of options designed to provide multiple layers of locative mapping and data. A GPS-driven site map is available, allowing the user to track their movement through signifiant mounds features. Location drives data that is pushed to the viewer automatically without the need for interface. When an interactive feature is selected on the map, an augmented reality view using gyroscope and compass data is loaded, portraying augmented reality views from the Adena-Hopewell era. Archaeologists have proposed that the enclosures were used to track celestial alignments. Using solar data from NASA’s JPL Horizons database, the movements of the sun on the equinoxes and solstices during the Adena-Hopewell era can be viewed and tracked to search for important alignments. The app is available on the Apple AppStore.