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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21735: Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 20 February 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what opportunities it considers augmented reality technology may bring in allowing visitors a better understanding of the archaeological heritage of Western Isles.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 5 March 2019

Digital technology can greatly enhance everybody’s experience of, and understanding of, Scotland’s rich heritage including that of the Western Isles.

Scotland is recognised as a global leader in digital innovation in the heritage sector. Indeed, Scotland’s contribution to this field was the focus of an international 2-day conference on the subject which was hosted by Historic Environment Scotland in October 2018. The event looked at developments in areas such as 3D modelling, augmented reality, virtual reality and animation.

New online platforms and developments in digital technologies are enabling people to inspect historic sites and artefacts from anywhere in the world, while a combination of digital documentation and animation allows for accurate recreation of historic environments which can be explored through gaming. Virtual reality can further bring such environments to life, creating immersive and illuminating experiences that transport the user into the past.

New technologies are being developed and applied in the Western Isles. For example, a partnership project between Urras nan Tursachan and St Andrew’s University is using cutting edge geophysics and digital technology to bring to life a monumental landscape that has been lost for 5000 years. I commend all who are involved in this project. Through such technical innovations visitors to the Western Isles will be able to experience its rich heritage in new and exciting ways.