Scots visitors could take ‘virtual reality’ tours

Visit Scotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead hailed the innovation. Picture: Dan Phillips
Visit Scotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead hailed the innovation. Picture: Dan Phillips
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CUTTING-edge computer technology allowing potential visitors to Scotland to take “virtual reality” tours of key attractions has been unveiled.

Travel agents and tour operators from around the world were the first to test out new software developed in Scotland which allow the wearer to be transported to a 3D world. VisitScotland, which is staging its annual industry “Expo” in Aberdeen, where the software was being showcased, believes it could completely transform the way major sites and attractions are promoted.

Scotland is the birthplace of innovation and technology

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland

Tourism and council leaders in the Angus area have joined forces with Dundee-based technology firm Augmentic Visualisations to pilot the technology.

The £30,000 project, which the Scottish Government has helped fund, combines 3D modelling of each site with headsets and technology which have already been developed for the computer gaming industry.

It allows people to swoop over the championship golf course at Carnoustie, soar around Arbroath Abbey and Glamis Castle and take in the full splendour of the Angus Glens.

Ritchie Duncan, managing director of Augmentic Visualisations, which was founded just over a year ago, said the software pilot had been developed to give people as close as possible an experience of visiting a site without actually being there.

He added: “We did a project for Abertay University a few months ago and have been out chapping doors to as we don’t really have a budget for any marketing.

“When we spoke to the tourist people in Angus they said it was exactly what they were looking for and asked us to do it on a much bigger scale.

“The software has allowed us to create a virtual visualisation of four different areas of Angus that they wanted to highlight. Rather than a complete experience, it gives a taster of what the software is capable of.

“The technology works with the brain and the eyes to completely immerse virtual visitors in the experience they are viewing through the headset.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland is the birthplace of innovation and technology such as this demonstrates the creative ways that businesses are working to put their destination firmly on the radar of international buyers.

“There is no better way to appreciate the beauty, history and heritage of an area than visiting in person.

“However, this technology comes a close second and will allow those attending ‘Expo’ to experience a whistle-stop virtual tour of the many delights this part of Scotland has to offer.”