(IDIA Lab, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA)
Keywords: locative, augmented reality, cultural heritage, mobile app
Virtual Companion is a custom augmented reality and locative engine developed by IDIA Lab for applications in cultural heritage. Visitors to an outdoor site use the app to aid in interpretation, learning and discovery via pushed location based content while exploring any outdoor site. For this version of the technology we worked with an Adena-Hopewell mounds site in Indiana, USA. Using GPS data, the user’s position is geolocated in reference to specific terrain, 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.
Interactive 3D objects, text and data features – driven by the user’s current location in the park, are marked on a series of different map overlay options designed to provide multiple layers of locative information throughout Mounds Park. A GPS-driven site map is available, allowing the user to track their movement through the trails and significant features. When an interactive feature is selected on the map, an augmented reality view using the device’s gyroscope and compass data is loaded, portraying indigenous people’s, pottery and habitats from the Adena-Hopewell era. Archaeologists have proposed that the earthen ceremonial enclosures were used to track celestial alignments. Using solar data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Horizons database, the movements of the sun on the equinoxes and solstices during the Adena-Hopewell era can be viewed accurately within the era of construction and tracked to search for important alignments.
Future proposed cultural heritage projects for Virtual Companion include the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mesa Verde in Colorado, USA and the Little Bighorn National Monument in Montana, USA.
Video demo: https://youtu.be/CvZtoV1Jq7c
Apple AppStore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/virtual-companion-mounds-state-park/id1028587191?mt=8