Ontology-based mobile augmented reality in cultural heritage sites: information modeling and user study


Augmented reality (AR) has received much attention in the cultural heritage domain as an interactive medium for requesting and accessing information regarding heritage sites. In this study, we developed a mobile AR system based on Semantic Web technology to provide contextual information about cultural heritage sites. Most location-based AR systems are designed to present simple information about a point of interest (POI), but the proposed system offers information related to various aspects of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, linked to the POI. This is achieved via an information modeling framework where a cultural heritage ontology is used to aggregate heterogeneous data and semantically connect them with each other. We extracted cultural heritage data from five web databases and modeled contextual information for a target heritage site (Injeongjeon Hall and its vicinity in Changdeokgung Palace in South Korea) using the selected ontology. We then implemented a mobile AR application and conducted a user study to assess the learning and engagement impacts of the proposed system. We found that the application provides an agreeable user experience in terms of its affective, cognitive, and operative features. The results of our analysis showed that specific usage patterns were significant with regard to learning outcomes. Finally, we explored how the study’s key findings can provide practical design guidance for system designers to enhance mobile AR information systems for heritage sites, and to show system designers how to support particular usage patterns in order to accommodate specific user experiences better.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13


  1. 1.


  2. 2.


  3. 3.


  4. 4.


  5. 5.


  6. 6.


  7. 7.


  8. 8.


  9. 9.


  10. 10.


  11. 11.


  12. 12.



  1. 1.

    Aart CV, Wielinga B, Hage WRV (2010) Mobile cultural heritage guide: location-aware semantic search. Knowledge Engineering and Management by the Masses Lecture Notes in Computer Science:257–271. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16438-5_18

  2. 2.

    Akker CVD, Oomen J, Jacobs G, Legêne S, Erp MV, Aroyo L, Segers R, Meij LVD, Ossenbruggen JV, Schreiber G, Wielinga B (2011) Digital hermeneutics. Proceedings of the 3rd International web science Conference on - WebSci '11. doi:10.1145/2527031.2527039

  3. 3.

    Akker CVD, Nuland AV, Meij LVD, Erp MV, Legêne S, Aroyo L, Schreiber G (2013) From information delivery to interpretation support. Proceedings of the 5th annual ACM web science Conference on - WebSci ’13. doi:10.1145/2464464.2464491

  4. 4.

    Almeida MB (2009) A proposal to evaluate ontology content. Appl Ontol 4(3–4):245–365

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Arches Project. http://archesproject.org/. Accessed 1 Feb 2017

  6. 6.

    Balduini M, Celino I, Dell’Aglio D, Valle ED, Huang Y, Lee T, Kim S-H, Tresp V (2012) BOTTARI: an augmented reality mobile application to deliver personalized and location-based recommendations by continuous analysis of social media streams. Web Semant Sci Serv Agents World Wide Web 16:33–41. doi:10.1016/j.websem.2012.06.004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Barak M, Herscoviz O, Kaberman Z, Dori YJ (2009) MOSAICA: a web-2.0 based system for the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage. Comput Educ 53:841–852. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.05.004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Becker C, Bizer C (2008) DBpedia mobile-a location-aware semantic web client. Proceedings of the semantic web challenge, pp 13-16

  9. 9.

    Boeuf PL, Doerr M, Ore CE, Stead S (2008) ICOMOS charter for the interpretation and presentation of cultural heritage sites. Int J Cult Prop 15:377. doi:10.1017/s0940739108080417

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Chianese A, Marulli F, Piccialli F, Benedusi P, Jung JE (2017) An associative engines based approach supporting collaborative analytics in the internet of cultural things. Futur Gener Comput Syst 66:187–198. doi:10.1016/j.future.2016.04.015

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    clarosnet.org - CLAROS: The world of art on the semantic web. http://clarosnet.org/. Accessed 1 Feb 2017

  12. 12.

    Collection Online - British Museum. https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online. Accessed 1 Feb 2017

  13. 13.

    Collections Online - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In: Welcome | Collections Online - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/. Accessed 1 Feb 2017

  14. 14.

    Context-based Metadata Model for Cultural Heritage Data Aggregation (TTAK.KO-10.0850). In: Telecommunications Technology Association of Korea. http://www.tta.or.kr/English/new/standardization/eng_ttastddesc.jsp?stdno=TTAK.KO-10.0850. Accessed 1 Feb 2017

  15. 15.

    Cuomo S, Michele PD, Piccialli F, Galletti A, Jung JE (2017) IoT-based collaborative reputation system for associating visitors and artworks in a cultural scenario. Expert Syst Appl 79:101–111. doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2017.02.034

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Dahne P, Karigiannis J (2002) Archeoguide: system architecture of a mobile outdoor augmented reality system. Proceedings International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality doi:10.1109/ismar.2002.1115103

  17. 17.

    Definition of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model. http://cidoc-crm.org/docs/cidoc_crm_version_5.1.2.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2017

  18. 18.

    Europeana Data Model Primer. http://pro.europeana.eu/files/Europeana_Professional/Share_your_data/Technical_requirements/EDM_Documentation/EDM_Primer_130714.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2017

  19. 19.

    Fresa A (2013) A data infrastructure for digital cultural heritage: characteristics, requirements and priority services. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 7:29–46. doi:10.3366/ijhac.2013.0058

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Kelley MJ (2013) Urban experience takes an informational turn: mobile internet usage and the unevenness of geosocial activity. GeoJournal 79:15–29. doi:10.1007/s10708-013-9482-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Kim S, Ahn J, Suh J, Kim H, Kim J (2015) Towards a semantic data infrastructure for heterogeneous cultural heritage data - challenges of Korean cultural heritage data model (KCHDM). 2015 Digital Heritage. doi:10.1109/digitalheritage.2015.7419508

  22. 22.

    Kim E, Jo J, Kim K, Kim S, Hong S, Kim J-I, Park N-Y, Park H, Matuszka T, Kim J, Woo W (2016) AR reference model for K-culture time machine. Human Interface and the Management of Information: Applications and Services Lecture Notes in Computer Science:278–289. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-40397-7_27

  23. 23.

    Kim H, Matuszka T, Kim JI, Kim J, Woo W (2016) An ontology-based augmented reality application exploring contextual data of cultural heritage sites. IEEE International Conference on Signal-Image Technology & Internet-Based Systems 2016:468–475. doi:10.1109/SITIS.2016.79

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Lee GA, Dunser A, Kim S, Billinghurst M (2012) CityViewAR: a mobile outdoor AR application for city visualization. 2012 I.E. International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality - Arts, Media, and Humanities (ISMAR-AMH). doi:10.1109/ismar-amh.2012.6483989

  25. 25.

    Lee GA, Dunser A, Nassani A, Billinghurst M (2013) AntarcticAR: an outdoor AR experience of a virtual tour to Antarctica. 2013 I.E. International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality - Arts, Media, and Humanities (ISMAR-AMH). doi:10.1109/ismar-amh.2013.6671264

  26. 26.

    Lombard M, Ditton T (2006) At the heart of it all: the concept of presence. J Comput-Mediat Commun. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.1997.tb00072.x

  27. 27.

    Louw M, Ansari A, Bartley C, Sanford C (2013) Stories in the rock: a design case of an explorable image viewer in a natural history museum. International Journal of designs for learning 4(2)

  28. 28.

    Martínez JL, Álvarez S, Finat-Saez J, Delgado FJ, Finat J (2015) Augmented reality to preserve hidden vestiges in historical cities. A case study. ISPRS - International archives of the photogrammetry. Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences XL-5(W4):61–67. doi:10.5194/isprsarchives-xl-5-w4-61-2015

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Matuszka T, Kiss A (2014) Alive cemeteries with augmented reality and semantic web technologies. International Journal of Computer, Information Science and Engineering, pp 32–36

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Papagiannakis G, Schertenleib SB, O'kennedy B, Arevalo-Poizat M, Magnenat-Thalmann N, Stoddart A, Thalmann D (2005) Mixing virtual and real scenes in the site of ancient Pompeii. Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds 16:11–24. doi:10.1002/cav.53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Park N, Kim E, Lee J, Woo W (2016) All-in-one mobile outdoor augmented reality framework for Cutural heritage site. IEEE International Conference on Signal-Image Technology & Internet-Based Systems 2016:484–489. doi:10.1109/SITIS.2016.81

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Silva DPD, Costa CAD, Righi RDR, Costa HM (2015) UbitourAR: a ubiquitous tourism model based on augmented reality. J Appl Commun Res. doi:10.4013/jacr.2014.41.03

  33. 33.

    Vert S, Vasiu R (2014) Integrating linked data in mobile augmented reality applications. Communications in Computer and Information Science Information and Software Technologies 324–333. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-11958-8_26

  34. 34.

    Vert S, Dragulescu B, Vasiu R (2014) LOD4AR: exploring linked open data with a mobile augmented reality web application. InProceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Posters & Demonstrations Track-Volume 1272, pp 185–188

  35. 35.

    Wetzel R, Blum L, Feng F, Oppermann L, Straeubig M (2011) Tidy City: a location-based game for City exploration based on Usercreated content. Mensch & Computer 2011:487–496. doi:10.1524/9783486712742.487

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This research is supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism(MCST) and Korea Creative Content Agency(KOCCA) in the Culture Technology(CT) Research & Development Program 2014.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hayun Kim.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kim, H., Matuszka, T., Kim, J. et al. Ontology-based mobile augmented reality in cultural heritage sites: information modeling and user study. Multimed Tools Appl 76, 26001–26029 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11042-017-4868-6

Download citation


  • Augmented reality
  • Contextual information
  • Cultural heritage
  • Heritage site
  • Mobile application
  • Ontology