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Historic Environment Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is a charity and public body leading the way in protecting, understanding and sharing Scotland’s historic environment.

Photo credit: Historic Environment Scotland

They care for 336 sites of national importance, which together attract over 12 million visitors each year. As well as helping global audiences to access historic archives and collections, HES are at the forefront of researching Scotland’s historic environment, including the impacts of climate change.

They provide advice and offer a wide range of learning opportunities, promoting the sustainable development of Scotland’s historic places and providing millions of pounds each year to local communities to repair and revitalise their historic environment.

The Challenge

HES currently offer visitors tourist telescopes to magnify and interpret the surrounding landscapes at historic sites.

Through the Creative Informatics programme, they see an opportunity to use their extensive data sets and archives to move beyond the traditional telescope and enhance the visitor experience through a completely reimagined product.

The challenge is to develop a new product that would allow visitors to engage more directly with a monument from a precise outdoor viewpoint, by delivering a range of content including historical, reconstructed or inaccessible views.

The Challenge Respondent will undertake research and development of a physical product and integrated software, as well as providing a demonstration of suitable content. HES will facilitate testing and evaluation of the product at Urquhart Castle, one of their most popular visitor attractions.

Photo credit: Historic Environment Scotland


Data that can be available to support development of interpretive content includes:

  • Historical reconstructions
  • Film footage
  • Laser scan data and visualisations
  • Archaeology and architectural data
  • User-generated content



Historic Environment Scotland’s vision is Heritage for All, and the organisation is committed to continue widening engagement opportunities for people to see, connect with, create, understand, value and explore the historic environment in everyday life – whether walking in an ancient stone circle, touching real prehistoric objects, exploring a digital castle in a virtual reality headset, or simply walking a dog along a canal towpath. The successful completion of this challenge would support HES’s efforts to make sure the historic environment remains relevant to the Scotland of today and tomorrow, in line with the national strategy for Scotland’s historic environment – ‘Our Place in Time’.

Challenge Respondent

Experience Design Studio SENSECity were selected to respond to this Challenge Project. Find out more about the solution they developed in collaboration with the Historic Environment Scotland team.

If you have any questions about Challenge Projects please contact the Creative Informatics team at creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


If you are interested in responding to this challenge please contact the Creative Informatics team.

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