by Ralf Klamma and Yiwei Cao

Digital multimedia, web and mobile technologies bring new experiences to museums and cultural heritage management. Within the German-Greek project of non-linear digital storytelling for the battleship “G. Averof”, advanced storytelling approaches were applied to the museum with a large multimedia archive on the historic battleship.

The battleship “G. Averof” is the world's only surviving heavily armoured cruiser of the early 20th century and serves as a museum operated by the Greek Navy in Faliron today. Non-linear digital storytelling for the battleship “G. Averof” was an interdisciplinary research project between the Chair of Information Systems and Databases at RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany and Harokopio University, Athens, Greece. Starting from 2009, this project was supported by the IKYDA program, an integrated action program between the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (I.K.Y). The Greek partners contributed their expertise in geographic information systems and cultural heritage while the German partners provided their experience in multimedia information systems design. Matthias Jarke, Ralf Klamma, Yiwei Cao as well as a number of research assistants and students visited Harokopio University, while Emmanuel Stefanakis, Eleni Gadolou and Haroula Papadaki visited RWTH Aachen University to exchange knowledge in a couple of workshops.

The research project aimed at the promotion and enrichment of the museum archives for a new generation of museum visitors used to web and mobile technologies. With our advanced web-based storytelling environment “Virtual Campfire” we were able to reuse the large multimedia collection about the battleship “G. Averof” as well as to trace the journeys of the flagship through time and space by the utilization of digital map technologies. Moreover, we created a Web 2.0 community around the traditional media where visitors can add their own media and stories, thus creating new perspectives on the daily life on a battleship. To stimulate this, we created multimedia stories documenting the coal loading process for the ship as well as the battle of Lemnos. The stories could be consumed and refined in every web browser but also on mobile smart phones.

“G. Averof” Battleship.
“G. Averof” Battleship.

Mobile Campfire, the mobile version of Virtual Campfire has been launched on iTunes App Store. Mobile Campfire enables user communities to create, annotate, search, and share photos and multimedia stories on iPhone, iPod and iPad. Mobile Campfire extends the semantic-enhanced video annotation service for Virtual Campfire to enable collaborative tagging of videos and photos.
A group of research assistants and from Aachen visited Harokopio University in November 2009 to document the cultural heritage for future projects. We did a 3D laser scanning campaign with the Riegl LMS-Z390i 3D scanner with over 20 scans from different viewpoints and created the only 3D digital model of the “G. Averof”.

The story of the battleship “G. Averof” continues. Interdisciplinary cooperation enhances the applicability of research methods in cultural heritage management. Upon request of the Culture Section of the German Foreign Office an evaluation of the historic city walls of Ghazni in Afghanistan, the future Islamic Culture Capital in 2013, has recently been conducted by cultural heritage experts from the RWTH Aachen Center of Documentation and Conservation. All these activities have addressed new community requirements for Virtual Campfire and are now under consideration, such as cloud based video processing for cultural sites. In such environments, the documentation often has to be performed with cheap and available hardware. Processing costs and time of multimedia documents can be dramatically improved by using modern processing paradigm like cloud computing.


Please contact:
Ralf Klamma
RWTH Aachen University, Germany
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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