Interactive Exhibitions: The Role of Geolocation in Hands-On Museum Displays

June 21, 2023

Museums & Galleries

interactive museum exhibits

Museums, like other industries, are witnessing massive penetration of context-aware technology. This term is increasingly discussed within museum circles due to its crucial role in driving innovation and maintaining relevance in the field. What is context-aware technology? It refers to systems and applications that are capable of gathering and analyzing contextual information from the environment and using it to adapt and provide personalized experiences or services to users. This technology takes into account various factors such as the user’s location, preferences, behaviour, time and surrounding conditions to deliver relevant and tailored information or functionality. By leveraging sensors, data analytics and machine learning algorithms, context-aware technology enhances user interactions by dynamically adjusting its behavior based on the specific context in which it is deployed. It enables intelligent and adaptive systems that can anticipate user needs, optimize resources and improve overall user experiences.

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Museum Applications 

In the context of museums, this technological innovation surpasses the capabilities of traditional interactive tour guide applications, which often require manual intervention to trigger functions. Unlike standalone apps that come with installation complexities, context-aware technology is seamlessly integrated, allowing museum visitors to access curated and personalized multimedia content and interactive museum exhibits based on their proximity to exhibits and their real-time journey.

Leading the way in this field are location-based technology innovators like Mapsted, whose ground-breaking concept aims to enhance the museum experience by pushing the boundaries of mobile-based apps, benefiting both visitors and museum managers. While this technology contextualizes the experience for visitors, it also performs automated context-aware management functions such as regulating movement, monitoring occupancy, intelligently staffing the museum and providing real-time event notifications. These advancements aim to make museums more inviting and safer.

Redefining Geolocation: Breaking Free from GPS Dependency

Recently, there has been a shift in the belief that indoor location-based implementations were impossible without communication protocols and most importantly GPS. However, this perception changed due to the rise of IoT and smartphones equipped with sensors. Nowadays, connected IoT devices within limited areas expand the coverage, effectively eliminating signal dead zones.

Moreover, IoT enhances the visibility of devices within the network and facilitates data exchange. This is where the sensor-fusion method becomes significant. By leveraging AI, data can be efficiently organized and interpreted by algorithms to expedite data-driven decision-making.

For visitors, their location data can trigger personalized mobile content related to nearby exhibits or even an immersive audio-visual presentation if wearable VR devices are provided. On the other hand, management can benefit from a continuous flow of live and anonymous crowdsourced location data to make facility management decisions in a snap. Additionally, geolocation data can be further distilled to extract patterns regarding floor usage, the most-visited exhibits and other valuable insights that would remain concealed without the location layer.

How Can Geolocation Elevate the Museum-Going Experience?

Enhanced Location Discovery

Is geolocation primarily aimed at animating exhibits and enhancing people’s interaction with them? Maybe not! By fostering more interaction, geolocation goes beyond merely breathing life into displays. It spurs interest in artefacts, artwork and virtual reality exhibits to deepen awareness and excitement. Imparting knowledge throughout the journey is not just the specialty of using geolocation technology, it also breaks barriers that prevent visitors from openly experiencing the museum.

Interactive Navigation

Can indoor spaces be navigated without Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GPS? The solution lies in the effective use of geolocation data. Museums can provide visitors with up-to-date location information, so getting lost becomes a challenge of the past. Top features of indoor navigation solutions like Mapsted include contextual exploration, turn-by-turn directions and real-time notification. Moreover, geolocation plays a vital role in guiding visitors along the safest routes during emergency situations, putting their well-being first. 

AR Experiences

When geolocation and augmented reality (AR) technology come together, an additional dimension of information and interactivity can be added to physical exhibits. Visitors simply need to point their devices at exhibits to instantly access contextual and personalized pop-up information, accompanied by audio-visual elements, if applicable. Whether it’s cultural insights or language-specific details, you can be confident that the provided information is tailored to individual preferences.


Without two-way engagement, museums can often be perceived as dull. However, to infuse excitement into the ambiance, visitors can be urged to participate in collaborative location-based events such as scavenger hunts, quizzes and puzzles. These engaging activities not only emphasizes reward and recognition through problem-solving but also improves the overall educational value. By combining play and pedagogy, museums can create a stimulating environment.

Enhancing Accessibility

Location-based data has the potential to improve accessibility within museums by offering audio descriptions, sign language translations or subtitles for exhibits so visitors with visual or hearing impairments can fully engage. Geolocation-based accessibility features promote inclusivity and create a more welcoming environment for all visitors.

Future Forward

In the future of museums, embracing geolocation technology is the key to staying relevant and captivating younger generations who prefer an immersive and inclusive experience that brings art to life like never before. If you’re ready to take this leap in this direction, it’s time to introduce yourself to the mapping solutions expert Mapsted. As a pioneering technology firm, we offer innovative location-based solutions for museum navigation, management and analytics.

What sets Mapsted apart is our commitment to a hardware-free approach, revolutionizing the way museums address pressing challenges. No more obstacles, just seamless and intuitive solutions that are easier to deploy and manage. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to transform your museum experience.

Contact us today and prepare to be amazed with a quick and immersive demo that will leave you eager to explore the endless possibilities of geolocation technology. Let’s shape the future of museums together! If you enjoyed reading about this topic, here’s another recommended read entitled, Technology Inside Museums that is Gaining Momentum: How Can It Work for Your Venue? You may also want to check out this short video on How to Capture Your Customers’ Attention With Contextual Messaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How does geolocation technology enhance the museum experience?

Ans. Geolocation technology takes your museum experience to the next level with personalized engagement, interactive navigation, AR adventures, gamified challenges and improved accessibility.

Q2. What is the role of geolocation in interactive navigation within museums?

Ans. With up-to-date location information, it ensures you never lose your way and allows you to explore the museum with ease. Plus, in case of emergencies geolocation steps in to lead you safely along the best routes, putting your well-being first.

Q3. How does geolocation technology enable AR experiences in museums?

Ans. When Geolocation technology is combined with augmented reality (AR), it adds an additional dimension of information and interactivity to physical exhibits. Visitors can use their devices to access contextual and personalized pop-up information about exhibits, accompanied by audio-visual elements.

Q4. How can geolocation technology be used for gamification in museums?

Ans. Yes, geolocation technology enables museums to create interactive and engaging location-based events such as scavenger hunts, quizzes and puzzles. Visitors can participate in these activities, which not only adds excitement to the museum experience but also enhances the educational value.

Q5. How does geolocation technology improve accessibility in museums?

Ans. Geolocation-based data can be used to improve accessibility within museums by offering audio descriptions, sign language translations or subtitles for exhibits. This allows visitors with visual or hearing impairments to fully engage with the displays. Geolocation-based accessibility features promote inclusivity and create a more welcoming environment for all visitors.

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