ARCO: Augmented Representation of Cultural Objects

ARCO logo



This page describes some of the activities undertaken by staff at UKOLN as part of the ARCO project


The Augmented Representation of Cultural Objects (ARCO) project is funded within the Information Societies Technology (IST) Programme, under Key Action 3 managed by the Information Society Directorate-General of the European Commission. This project ran from January 2000 to September 2004.

The IST Project Factsheet on ARCO is available in the RTD Projects Database of CORDIS at:

More detailed information about the ARCO project can be found on the project's website:
<URL:; (unfortunately no longer exists)

ARCO is a project that simplifies the digital capture of 3D objects (in this case cultural artefacts held in museum archives) through the use of photogrammetry, thus eliminating expensive laser based methods.

The project will analyse and provide innovative, but simple to use technical solutions for virtual cultural object creation using image based modelling through photogrammetry, manipulation of cultural objects through interactive model refinement and rendering, management of these objects (virtual representations) through an XML driven cultural object relational database, and presentation technology based on an augmented reality interface or web browser.

All system components will be integrated through XML providing data exchange and interoperability. The project will demonstrate its results through a series of prototype system components leading to a final integrated system for evaluation-both technically and socio-economically. We will address user (museum researcher and public) requirements, by involving them through the Museum Curatorial Steering Group.

The project will contribute to international standards efforts in XML and other metadata, particularly museum focused standards such as CIMI and EMII (websites no longer exist).

Latest news:

Project partners with UKOLN:


  • Project Coordinator: University of Sussex, Centre for VLSI and computer graphics(UoS) -UK

  • Akademia Ekonomiczna w Poznaniu (PUE) -Poland
  • Commissariat a l'energie atomique (CEA-LIST) -France
  • Giunti Gruppo Editoriale S.P.A. (GIUNTI ILABS) -Italy


  • The Sussex Archaelogical Society(Sussex Past) -UK

  • Victoria and Albert Museum (VAM) -UK


Work on ARCO at UKOLN:

UKOLN is contributing to several workpackages in the ARCO project. A brief description of each workpackage follows, and links to selected public documents and deliverables will be added as they become available.

WP2: User Requirements and Specifications

UKOLN will lead this work package. The museum pilot sites, with the technology partners, will specify user requirements in terms of implementing 3 prototype systems and the final system. The idea is that the first prototype will focus on implementing a limited system from current state-of-the-art technology, which will generate further requirements, particularly from the museums.

Internal Deliverables:
User Requirements Specification for the First Prototype (April 2002).
User Requirements Specification for the Second Prototype(October 2002).
User Requirements Specification for the Third Prototype(April 2003).

WP5: Object Relational Database Management System

This work package will be led by PUE with some involvement by UKOLN. The project will design and develop an object-relational database to store the cultural objects-virtual representations-and supporting cultural information. The database will incorporate a high-capacity/high-performance database management system based on XML that supports large archives of virtual representations and associated attributes, including the extensions to the virtual representation for intelligence and augmented reality interface.

WP6: XML Metadata, Schemas and XSL

PUE will also lead this work package with considerable involvement from UKOLN. XML is the chosen standard for structuring the cultural object content of the database. It is absolutely necessary to choose a standard in order to provide interoperability and data exchange between users (museum) sites and their respective content providers. We can also leverage the power of XML to define the cultural object intelligence by using it to code an intelligent rule base for the cultural objects.

Internal Deliverables:
A Review of Metadata Use - Jessica Lindholm and Manjula Patel (April 2002).
D8 Report on XML Description of Cultural Objects - Manjula Patel (October 2002).

WP8: System Integration and Evaulation

This workpackage, led by GIUNTI ILABS, will focus on seamlessly integrating the system components into a smooth process from digital capture to visualisation of the virtual representation by ensuring all component interfaces are compatible. The major system components, prototypes and final system will be tested and evaluated.

WP9: Exploitation, Intellectual Property Rights and Dissemination

GIUNTI ILABS will take the lead in this workpackage which will involve the identification of dissemination activities and the refinement of business plans for the consortium as a whole.

Archive of Project Web Site

An archive version of the project web site is available on the Internet Archive. On 13 March 2013 the project Web site had been crawled 47 times, dating back to 1 February 2002.

UKOLN staff who worked on the ARCO project:

Manjula Patel
Technical Research and Development


Rachel Heery
Assistant Director (Team Leader, Research & Development)

Maintained by: Manjula Patel of UKOLN, University of Bath.
Document created: 08-Nov-2001.
Last updated: 11-Feb-2013.

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