SoftServe Developed an Augmented Reality App to Reconstruct a Disappeared Castle

07 Feb, 2018

SoftServe’s R&D department has developed a mobile app Tustan AR, which enables to reconstruct the view of the Middle-Aged wooden rock-based fortress Tustan (aged back to 9-16th cent.) by using the Augmented Reality technology.

Tustan is a cliff-based fortress, the remnants of which are located in Ukrainian Carpathian mountains, in Skole region of Lviv district. Tustan used to be a fortification and administrative center, as well as customs point on the significant way called ‘the salt route’.

The idea of the reconstruction belongs to Ukrainian scientist and local historian Mykhaylo Rozhko. This project became his dream when he visited Urych rocks for the first time nearly 50 years ago. Today his son Vasyl Rozhko is supporting the project. He was the one to initiate cooperation with SoftServe.

While working on the project, SoftServe team faced several challenges. Firstly, as of today there is no fortress as such – just exact places where wooden blocks were situated. Moreover, this area is not similar to those where traditional historical sites used to be located. Also, it appeared that the rocks tend to ruin and change their outline as well. The goal was to make sure that the rocks on the photos matched those in reality and those in the developed 3D model.

“We were approached with an idea to solve a unique challenging  problem, which resembled to technology investigations of SoftServe R&D department in 2017. We realized the level of complexity a bit later”, says Semen Frish, VR Engineer. “Having had closer conversation with Vasyl Rozhko, the founder of the reservation and ‘Tu Stan!’ festival, and the initiator of the project, we shared his passion and decided to help him despite the difficulties. This developed solution can be applied for the reconstruction of other historical sites in Ukraine. We are ready to share our best practices for the preservation of the historical heritage”.

Two specialists from R&D department were working on the project during a year. The reconstruction started with manual measurement of locations, examining of the existent materials and plans. The team also completed physical measurements on the site; drones helped to reach less accessible areas.  photogrammetry reconstruction provided for creating digital graphic models of the rocks and the fortress with centimeters to millimeters accuracy.

Now Tustan AR mobile app is live in real time on location and is available in any weather conditions. Moreover, the image can be viewed by remote after downloading a free app in App Store or Play Market.

The code and the models are publicly available.