Museum visitors usually seek to gain as much information as possible about certain objects or exhibitions at the museum. However, many times they require a little help finding the right item or navigating the quickest way possible to their desired destination.
For this, indoor navigation systems are a game-changer for on-the-move assistance, indoor positioning and wayfinding. This article describes how ViewAR powers the indoor navigation project with the Technical Museum Vienna (TMW) using Augmented Reality for localisation and positioning.
Objective and scope of services needed
The technical museum in Vienna wanted to implement an indoor positioning system, to provide easier wayfinding and provide individual tours to their visitors. With only using their smart-devices (smartphone or tablet) guests should accurately locate specific objects and precisely find their way around the museum. Wayfinding was to be provided with Augmented Reality, meaning guidance towards objects should be done using the camera of the user’s device. To implement such a navigation system and facilitate positioning within the area, the museum needed a 3D Scan of the whole venue, which is about 22.000 sqm (236.800 sq ft).
Using the navigation system, the 12.000 exhibition objects should be localized and either navigated to directly or be headed for within different tours. Additionally, item specific information should be displayed when pointed at the correct element. This content can be text, images, audio or video and should be retrieved from an existing museum collection management system, called Adlib.
The navigation system was intended to be implemented in an app specially developed for the museum. Also, a 2D museum plan was going to be presented on the website of the museum, showing POIs, exhibitions as well as separate objects and important checkpoints at the museum.
Indoor navigation solutions for mobile devices are becoming more common and accepted for people wanting to find destinations inside a building. Many indoor positioning and navigation applications often use hardware, such as bluetooth beacons and ceiling antennas. Such hardware installations are expensive and need to be maintained. Bluetooth beacon based solutions would only be able to provide an accuracy of 5-8 meters which is not enough for a museum.
ViewAR is deploying a vision-based positioning system using Augmented Reality techniques for indoor navigation. More precisely, ViewAR uses the visual recognition method to calculate visitor position, Augmented Reality to display real-time information and an interactive guide to show the navigation destination direction.
ViewAR partners with TMW to create and enhanced visitor experience
The IT agency Jart who won the tender for the application was looking for options for the indoor positioning. Among other technologies, ViewAR has presented their AR based approach and was chosen as the system for the AR component.
Jart created an application for the TMW that uses the ViewAR SDK for the positioning and navigation.
Using the TMW App, visitors can choose one or more Points of Interest (POIs) and will be guided to the destination by the ViewAR system. To start the navigation, the user films the area around him to do the positioning and is then guided towards the chosen POI or POIs. Once at the Point of Interest the app offers further information for interaction. This approach helps visitors to create personalized tours or use already existing tours guiding them through various exhibitions and objects of the museum. Using Augmented Reality, interactive content can also be offered at the point of interest.
The location was scanned by Beko, who used a Matterport Pro3D Scanner, in order to produce a scan of the location. The scan of the entire floor space of about 22.000m2 took 5 days. The project was finalized and successfully implemented into the Museum App in April 2021.
“Indoor navigation with Augmented Reality offers a unique solution for an advanced and entertaining visitors’ experience at our museum”, says Dr. Walter Szevera from the TMW. “No matter if our visitors want to take a guided tour or get more information about an exhibition object. With this solution we are able to provide such added values to our guests!”
Augmented Reality offers many interactive solutions involving visitors and creating rewarding engagement opportunities during their stay in the museum. The indoor navigation system by ViewAR opens up an immersive world of experiences, information, video, AR-content and guided tours, to enable an unforgettable stay at the Technical Museum in Vienna.
If you’re interested in creating indoor navigation
for visitors in your museum or exhibition, contact us!