English

Foto: Wilse, Anders Beer / Norsk Folkemuseum
Digitalt Museum 

Imagine you are travelling through the majestic landscape of the Dovre mountain range in central Norway…

Would you know that this is the most important area for wild reindeer in Europe? Perhaps you’re curious about how medieval pilgrims made their way through these mountains to Nidaros Cathedral and the grave of Saint Olav? Would you realise that the very area you are travelling through was also a strategic centre for the German army during World War II? Or maybe you’re just wondering who lived here when they were building the railway over 100 years ago?

The answers to these and other questions lie in numerous national and local databases in Norway. So how can we access and use this content as we travel through the Norwegian countryside?  That is when Heritage Here comes into play.

Heritage Here (or “Kultur- og naturreise” as it is known in its native Norwegian) is a national project which has been running since 2012 and has two main objectives: to help increase access to and use of public information and local knowledge about culture and nature, and second, to promote the use of better quality open data. The aim being that anyone with a smartphone can gain instant access to relevant facts and stories about their local area wherever they might be in the country.

This project is the result of cross-agency cooperation between the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Ministry of Culture. Project partners include the Norwegian Mapping Authority, the Arts Council Norway, the Directorate of Cultural Heritage, the National Archives and (until December 2014) the Norwegian Environment Agency. Together in Heritage Here the data from these partners has been made digitally accessible; it has been enriched, geo-tagged and disseminated in new ways. Content includes information about animal and plant life, cultural heritage and historical events, and varies from factual data to personal stories. This content is collected into Norway’s national digital infrastructure ‘Norvegiana’ and from there it can be used and developed by others to create new services for business, tourism, education or exported into the international arena, such as Europeana.eu.

Pilot areas

In 2012 and 2013 the main focus was to facilitate further development of technical infrastructures to help extract data from partner databases and other databases for mobile dissemination. There has also been ongoing work with local partners in three pilot areas; Bø/Sauherad, rural municipalities in Telemark (expanded in 2014 to include the entire Telemark county), Akerselva in Oslo, and Dovre in Oppland. The two latter are also included in an additional pilot, ‘Gudbrandsdalsleden’ the pilgrims route from Oslo to Trondheim. These pilots have been crucial to the project, both as an arena to test out the use of these different national datasets together, and by contributing with new relevant and interesting content on these areas.

They have also proved to be an opportunity to see Heritage Here’s work in a larger context and its potential interplay with other projects. The Telemark pilot has, for example, been used to test out the cloud-based mapping tools developed in LoCloud.

In addition to the afore-mentioned activities Heritage Here has worked towards being a competence builder – organising over 20 workshops on digital storytelling and geo-tagging of data, and numerous open seminars with different topics. The Gudbrandsdalsleden pilot has had a small video project in autumn 2015 to create specially made short films related to the pilgrims’ route. The aim is to have a rich variety of information digitally available to those traveling the route to enjoy -before, during or after- their trip.

Visualisation of cultural heritage data

In 2013-2014 the project developed a prototype app, KNappen, to visualise the content from its different project partners, together with other sources such as Wikipedia. This app has been used extensively in assessing the usability of the available content and the user experience. In response to the feedback and experiences the project has gathered it has focussed, in 2015, on developing various web-based prototypes which use a map as the users starting point. Here you can find exsamples of these prototypes which demonstrate a number of approaches for visualising and accessing different types of cultural heritage information from over 25 sources – such as content related to a particular area, route or subject. The code to these prototypes openly available and documented on Github so it can be used by others – either as it is, or as a starting point for something new.
In the final months of the project period Heritage Here cooperated with developers Vizbox and film production company Shortcut Oslo to take our prototype work in a new direction and explore other ways of visualising and presenting cultural heritage and geographical information. I November 2015 the project developed a three dimensional display box in which map and landscape information are projected onto model of the Dovre landscape, while a film showing historic pictures, interviews and other relevant information plays on the screen behind the model. The film that is projected onto the 3D-model and the film which plays on the screen are syncronised so that you will, for example, see the route that the pilgrims took visualised on the landscape model as you hear and see information on St.Olavs way from the other film. Futher infortion can be found here.

In 2015 Heritage Here continued developing and strengthening partnerships on a local, national and international level, and to work towards improving data quality and promoting the use of open data.  By posing the testing questions and searching for the answers, the project hoped to contribute to (among many other things) ensuring that you can enjoy more than just the beautiful scenery on your next journey through the Norwegian countryside.

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