SEAHA MRes student Rosie Brigham alongside her supervisors has demonstrated that heritage site visitors can use their smartphones to obtain good measurements of colour. The research, which measures the uncertainty of crowd-sourced measurements, has been published in Angewandte Chemie.
Through this research, the quality of crowd-sourced measurements taken by visitors to historic sites has been quantified for the first time. In collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland and UCL Culture, the researchers left signs on display asking visitors to submit pictures via email and twitter. The tweeted pictures were later analysed, colour-corrected, and used to obtain measures of colour of the depicted objects. The results show that colour measurements can be obtained with the help of visitors. The measurements are not as good as those obtained with scientific equipment, but are good enough to see some colour differences that are important for conservation.
This project will continue with research on the use of crowd-sourced smartphone images to measure other parameters of interest, such as shape, and on the development of algorithms for the automation of the measurements.