3-D cultural heritage visualisations

Community engagement and participation with 3-D cultural heritage visualisations

“Developments in ICT are facilitating new opportunities for communities, academics and heritage organisations to engage with local cultural heritage resources. This end-user interpretation is often described as ‘forming history’ (Reid, 2003; Creswell, 2011; DeSilvey, 2012). Digital cultural heritage initiatives represent key community resources, having potential as education tools, for empowerment through co-production of local knowledge, to encourage community engagement in local history, and for recreation and tourism consumption purposes (Stevens et al. 2010; Flinn 2007). User participation, combined with the greater exploitation of cultural and archival artefacts in an online environment, is a key priority for many heritage based organisations and funding (from agencies such as Historic Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund and others) is increasingly dependent on clear strategies for digital content and participation. Providing mechanisms through which local users can participate and engage with resources has the potential to facilitate the construction of more pluralistic accounts of local community heritage. […]

Visualisation from scan data

Visualisation from scan data

This seed project will investigate user engagement and interaction with 3-D visualisations of heritage sites. A portable laser scanner will be used to capture a 3-D scan of Elgin Ladyhill/Castle in the North-East of Scotland. These are important local landmarks; the ruins of Elgin castle date back to the 12th century and stand at one end of the Royal Burgh High Street. The scan will be rendered using open source technologies and used as a basis for the social research. User engagement activities and social research interviews with members of the community will be conducted in Elgin Library. As well as investigating the user experience of viewing local heritage sites in a virtual environment, this seed project will also investigate mechanisms for incorporating user-generated content into the visualisations. We believe that this can provide means through which non professional users can contribute information to these visualisations and thereby enhance knowledge and understanding through ‘tagging’ and commenting on digital artefacts (Basu, 2012).

(Tait & Laing, ‘Case for Support’)



Read the final report for this Study:

Tait, E. & Laing, R., ‘Community engagement and participation with 3D cultural heritage visualisations.’ Working Papers of the Communities & Culture Network+ Vol.3 (April 2014).



Key Participants

Dr. Elizabeth Tait (Robert Gordon University): Elizabeth is a lecturer in information management with an interdisciplinary research background in electronic information management and citizen engagement. Her main research interest is in the use of digital technologies for facilitating user interaction and engagement. In her previous employment she was a research fellow in dot.rural, the RCUK Digital Economy hub, and continues to work on the CURIOS project to produce user-friendly technologies for engaging communities with cultural heritage. Her role on the project will be as the principal investigator and she will be responsible for conducting the user testing activities and interview, conducting the analysis of findings and leading the development of the report and journal article.

Professor Richard Laing (Robert Gordon University): Richard holds qualifications in Surveying and History, and completed a PhD in value assessment at RGU in 1999. Since 1999, he has led a number of research commissions, including ‘Streetscapes’ (Scottish Enterprise), ‘Greenspace’ (ECFP5, Scottish lead), ‘Urban Connections (Aberdeen City Growth) and CARE North (RGU lead, Interreg IVB). These projects provided techniques for assessing human responses to virtual built environments. He has extensive experience of research concerning holistic value assessment in the built environment, including studies on design evaluation, the use of computer games technology in design, building conservation and innovative housing. His research concerning design evaluation has made a significant and innovative use of 3D virtual models, including laser scanning, to present various designs and environmental scenarios. His role on the project will be conducting the laser scanning activities and rendering these into a 3-D visualization and provides expertise in these areas.