New App for heritage sites in Sri Lanka | Daily News


New App for heritage sites in Sri Lanka

Claire Delalande and Jasmine Boudeau
Claire Delalande and Jasmine Boudeau

YuSit is a French company specializing in cultural heritage enhancement. By developing innovative mediation tools for cultural sites all over the world, they help the local entities to make the best use of the richness of their heritage, in order to fulfill the wishes and needs of both foreign and local visitors. Daily News spoke to Managing Directress of YuSit, Claire Delalande who elaborated more on YuSit and its involvement with Sri Lanka.

“In the course of our projects in Asia, we chose Sri Lanka to develop an innovative cultural heritage project, in collaboration with local stakeholders engaged in culture and tourism. In collaboration with Galle Heritage Foundation and the Ministry of Law and Order and Southern Development, we have developed a visitor assistant mobile application for Galle Fort in Sinhala, English and French. The application is equipped with geo-fencing technology which enables visitors to get notifications of attractions with descriptions nearby while strolling in Galle Fort. Even if visitors do not wish to use geo-location, they can still read the descriptions of the attractions.

In the application, they will find particularly ‘Practical information’, ‘Etiquette’ for visiting religious places, history of the city and 19 points of attractions. The application does not collect any personal data and is free of charge for anyone. Once downloaded, it can be used offline with all its features,” said Claire Delalande.

YuSit is based in France, in the suburbs of Rouen, in Normandy region, to the northwest of Paris. The company was founded in 2015.

Being a company comprising of archaeologists, historians, and computer engineers, the team members are also involved in research programs, scientific commissions, UNESCO and participate in the training of new generations of cultural professionals by teaching at the university and taking part in symposiums and special seminars reserved for specialists. With 20 years of experiences in cultural heritage valorization in France and abroad, they develop and coordinate all types of cultural projects.

“We are developing many projects in Europe and Asia, like digital platforms for museums and natural sites in France and Philippines, mobile applications for several historical sites in Sri Lanka like Sigiriya, in Thailand and in France. In order to fully understand each context and to work intelligently with the cultural structures of each country in which we operate, our team integrates at least one local stakeholder for each project. Whether he is an expert, a student or a site manager, he is an indispensable person in the development of projects that are truly adapted to local populations and carried out with a view to opening up to foreign tourists. It is because heritage and cultural projects are bridges between people and open up to the world that we develop a collaborative approach based on the exchange of experiences,” explained Claire Delalande.

E-culture is a growing discipline in Digital Humanities. Digital tools are becoming an integral element of the cultural communication. Smart phone applications for heritage sites, virtual reconstructions of monuments created with augmented reality and virtual reality have rejuvenated the cultural mediation.

The new technology contributes to make heritage understandable to the public. Today, many e-heritage projects across the world have successfully gained attention of both young and old visitors.

“First, we would like to finish the projects we are developing. Then, we would like to shape new projects in Sri Lanka and all over the world. We will continue to advise stakeholders in the use of new technologies for the enhancement of heritage sites, while highlighting our values, particularly cultural democratization. Our app for Galle Fort has been released on January 30 2018 under the name ‘Visit Galle’. We invite all Sri Lankans to experience this new e-heritage app for free.

It is now available on Google Play. The Ios version of the application will be released very soon on AppStore!” said Claire Delalande.Some local travel agencies have also joined this cultural project as communication partners. They are - Yathra Travels, Sanchaara, Authenticities, Nature Heights and Okithma Travels.

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