Launch of Virtual Companion iOS app by IDIA Lab

Learn how modern technology can shape our understanding of the past during a special program at Mounds State Park on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Visitors to the 1 p.m. program will join park naturalist Kelley Morgan to learn about modern technologies that help archaeologists and historians bring the past to life. During the second half, director John Fillwalk and animator Neil Zehr of the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts Laboratory at Ball State University will demonstrate how they use archaeological data to interpret the past to the public.


BSU’s IDIA Lab is premiering Virtual Companion – their custom augmented reality app employing LocusEngine, a geolocative process developed by IDIA Lab. Visitors to the park use the app to aid in learning and discovery while exploring the park’s Adena-Hopewell mounds. Using GPS data, the user’s position is geolocated in reference to the historical sites, allowing the app to display relevant content as a dynamic guide. This approach can be applied in cultural heritage, archeology, the sciences and the arts.

Interactive features, as well as the user’s current location in the park, are marked on a series of map options designed to provide multiple layers of locative information throughout the park. A GPS-driven trail map is available, allowing the user to track their movement through the trails and important features. When an interactive feature is selected on the map, an augmented reality view using gyroscope and compass data is loaded, portraying native people’s and habitats from the Adena-Hopewell era. Archaeologists have proposed that the enclosures were used to track celestial alignments. Using solar data from NASA’s JPL Horizons database, the movements of the sun on the equinoxes and solstices during the Adena-Hopewell era can be viewed and tracked to search for important alignments.

Standard park entry fees of $5 per in-state vehicle apply. Mounds State Park ( is at 4306 Mounds Road, Anderson, 46017.

Demonstration videos:

Download app here: