Treasure Trapper / Travelling Treasures

The Travelling Treasures project was a seven month project developed by the Centre for Design Informatics (CDI) for Edinburgh Museums and Art Galleries (EM&G), The Assembly Rooms (AR) and Edinburgh Bus Tours (part of Lothian Buses and Transport for Edinburgh) (LB).
Interested in better understanding how location based services and gaming could increase footfall at the many museums and cultural venues, EM&G approached CDI to develop a creative solution that would be funded through a SICSA Smart Tourism Award. Following a successful application the teams developed a game in the form of mobile applications for iOS and Android platforms that integrated data derived from the LB open API which describes the time of arrival of buses to bus stops across the city with cultural information about artefacts held within the EM&G and AR collections.

Renamed as Treasure Trapper the applications integrate data to form a simple but compelling game. Simply put, as the tourist buses that are operated by LB pass by an EM&G or AR venue, the objects virtually ‘escape’ from the museums collections.. The objects are dropped off at bus stops around the city for children to ‘capture’. When a child has collected all of the objects within a level of the game they can ‘level up’ by returning the virtual objects to a museum and redeem a prize. The more levels the child completes, the more lucrative the prize.

Developed as a trial for summer 2014 the challenge of developing user experiences that rely upon an interoperability between different city databases and location based data was successful and the project received good coverage in local and Scottish press. This document describes the design challenge of the project, the technical solutions, the marketing and press coverage received to date and an analysis of the trial.

Funded through SICSA Smart Tourism £40k

Project partners:
Edinburgh Museum and Galleries:
Ruthanne Baxter & Nicolas Tyack

The Assembly Rooms: Electra Gouni
Lothian Buses: Helen Adams and Bill Johnston

Centre for Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh:
Jane Macdonald, Duncan Shingleton, Chris Speed & Jon Oberlander