Heritage tourism has emerged as one of the most successful types of modern tourism. However, at present the access to information on cultural heritage is limited and scattered.
The accuracy and consistency of available information are also concerns.
“Given this context, the ICTA initiated the ‘e-Heritage Project’ to introduce cutting-edge technology for the storage and dissemination of information on the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka; the aim of the Heritage Project being to improve the knowledge and satisfaction of tourists vis a vis Sri Lanka’s heritage and enhance Sri Lanka’s image as a Heritage Destination”, said CEO ICTA Muhunthan Canagey.
With this mandate, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, having taken into consideration the disparities in accessing information communication technologies that exist in our society, that stem from both, inadequate infrastructure as well as lack of content, designed and developed the Sri Lanka Museums Mobile application, available on Android/iOS, which will provide visitors with not just rich content, but also more interactive views of museum items.
The Sri Lanka Museum Application was launched concurrently with the re-opening of the Colombo National Museum complex by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs, S.B. Navinna, Deputy Minister, Palitha Thewarapperuma, Secretary, D. Swarnapala and Director, Department of National Museums, Mrs. Sanuja Kasthuriarachchi.
The National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is the largest museum in the country and contains collections of great importance and value, such as, the regalia of the country, including the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs as well as many other exhibits which tell the tales of ancient Sri Lanka.
Museums make education more interesting as they bring students into contact with the reality of what they learn in school.
Museums are also a major tourist attraction, hence, they help in boosting a country’s economy. They are also a good source of research, especially, for people who study history as they provide useful information for researchers.
The Department of National Museums has realized that the static traditional way of presenting exhibits needed to be significantly transformed by adding creative elements and ideas with a view to encourage interactivity and improve visitor engagement, and teamed up with ICTA of Sri Lanka to develop a Museums Mobile application in Android & iOS platforms, to provide more user interaction with relevant content in relevant locations.
The Android/iOS based mobile application was developed by the ICTA using contemporary ubiquitous mobile technology to put museums virtually at a visitor’s fingertips, thus encouraging and improving visitors’ engagement with museums in Sri Lanka.
The solution developed for the Sri Lanka Museums has the following functionalities:
Multi-lingual content base (Sinhala, English, Tamil) - Records and integrates the voice description of artifacts, as well as text contents of various museums in Sri Lanka with the native mobile applications.
Recorded voice descriptions are played once the user enters the item code or scans the QR maker.
Geo Location Based Augmented Reality - a module to locate the galleries based on the geo location of the visitor.
Indoor Positioning System - Marker based (Fiducial) indoor positioning system in order that users may know the exact location they are at, thus being able to route their location accordingly.
Social Media – Social media is integrated with the applications in order that visitors may share their experience.
In the near future, the application will also provide facilities to purchase Museum tickets on-line and this feature will be activated with the launch of the National Payment Platform.
The Sri Lanka Museums Mobile Application project which commenced in 2015, with the Magampura Ruhunu Heritage Museum in Hambantota, today, includes the National Museum of Colombo, known as the Sri Lanka National Museum, the largest museum in Sri Lanka and one of the greatest museums in the world.
The Department of National Museums and the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka will incorporate the digital content of all the museums under the purview of the Department of National Museums onto the Sri Lanka Museums Mobile Application by the end of 2018.