In this paper, we present the software architecture of a complete mobile tourist guide for cultural heritage sites located in the old town of Chania, Crete, Greece. This includes gamified components that motivate the user to traverse the suggested interest points, as well as technically challenging outdoors augmented reality (AR) visualization features. The main focus of the AR feature is to superimpose 3D models of historical buildings in their past state onto the real world, while users walk around the Venetian part of Chania’s city, exploring historical information in the form of text and images. We examined and tested registration and tracking mechanisms based on commercial AR frameworks in the challenging outdoor, sunny environment of a Mediterranean town, addressing relevant technical challenges. Upon visiting one of three significant monuments, a 3D model displaying the monument in its past state is visualized onto the mobile phone’s screen at the exact location of the real-world monument, while the user is exploring the area. A location-based experience was designed and integrated into the application, enveloping the 3D model with real-world information at the same time. The users are urged to explore interest areas and unlock historical information, while earning points following a gamified experience. By combining AR technologies with location-aware and gamified elements, we aim to promote the technologically enhanced public appreciation of cultural heritage sites and showcase the cultural depth of the city of Chania.
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