Explore Orkney tomb with new 3D App

Screenshot from 3d app allowing you to explore Orkney tomb

A new mobile app, enabling people across the world to explore one of Europe’s finest chambered tombs, Maeshowe in Orkney, is now available to download.

This cutting edge technology, entitled Explore Maeshowe, allows audiences to virtually explore the historic site – a masterpiece of Neolithic design and construction and part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site – in high definition 3D.

Through the app – which is available for both iOS and Android – users can discover Norse graffiti from the 1100s and see how the entrance passage to the Maeshowe Tomb is perfectly aligned with the setting of the midwinter sun.

Developed using highly accurate laser scan data captured as part of the Scottish Ten Project, via a partnership between Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and experts in 3D visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation (SimVis), the app also allows users to take part in an interactive 3D tour of the site, view an impressive photographic slideshow and learn more about Maeshowe’s rich legacy.

Dr Lyn Wilson, Digital Documentation Manager at HES said: “The app is a fantastic way to share our cutting edge laser scan data and 3D models to provide virtual access to this wonderful site, which is something we as an organisation are increasingly doing as a key way of enabling more and more people and new audiences to engage with us, our sites and our collections.

Dr Paul Chapman, Director of SimVis added: “SimVis is working at the cutting edge of 3D digital technologies harnessing their potential in education, heritage and commercial sectors. Explore Maeshowe is an example of how 3D visualisation can enable more people to access and interact with Britain’s heritage learning more about one of the UK’s most important neolithic sites.”

A monumental chambered tomb, Maeshowe is the finest Neolithic building to survive in north-west Europe. Built around 5,000 years ago, it is an impressive burial monument, where people lived, worshipped, and honoured their dead. One of its most alluring features for visitors is how the entrance to the tomb is aligned with the setting of the midwinter sun, so that the light illuminates the tomb’s interior.

Find links to download the app here.