Treasure Trapper

Treasure Trapper is a game that allows you to explore Edinburgh Museums & Galleries (EM&G) collection of amazing objects. EM&G museum's objects have escaped into the city, travelling around on Lothian City Tour Buses and it's your job to find them and return them to their venues. Treasure Trapper was developed by the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art in association with EM&G, the Assembly Rooms and Lothian Buses. This pilot App was made possible thanks to a Smart Tourism award funded by SISCA. 

Treasure Trapper


The Travelling Treasures project was a seven-month project developed for EM&G, The Assembly Rooms (AR) and Edinburgh Bus Tours (part of Lothian Buses and Transport for Edinburgh).
Interested in better understanding how location based services and gaming could increase footfall at the many museums and cultural venues, EM&G approached the Centre for Design Informatics (Edinburgh College of Art) to develop a creative solution that would be funded through a SICSA Smart Tourism Award. The team developed a game in the form of mobile applications for iOS and Android platforms that integrated data derived from the Lothian Buses open API which provides the arrival time of buses at bus stops across the city along with cultural information about artefacts held within the EM&G and AR collections.

Treasure Trapper on the App Store


phone-exploded.png Renamed as Treasure Trapper, the application integrates data to form a simple but compelling game. Simply put, as the tourist buses that are operated by Lothian Buses pass by an EM&G or AR venue, the objects virtually ‘escape’ from the museums collections. The objects are dropped off at bus stops around the city for children to ‘capture’. When a child has collected all of the objects within a level of the game they can ‘level up’ by returning the virtual objects to a museum and redeem a prize. The more levels the child completes, the more lucrative the prize.

Read More


Developed as a trial for summer 2014 the challenge of developing user experiences that rely upon an interoperability between different city databases and location based data was successful and the project received good coverage in local and Scottish press.

Key Findings


What appears to be unique about the Treasure Trapper application was the achievement in combining new web services with existing ones. The project demonstrated the potential for using moving vehicles as carriers of data for localised services and the fun game element was popular with users, the media and those involved.


Speed, C., Shingleton, D. & Dickinson, J. (2014)

Using city bus data as a platform for smart tourism. All Hands Digital Economy Conference. Imperial College, London 3 Dec 2014.

Speed, C., Shingleton, D., Box, S., Cherrett, T., Dickinson, J., Davies, N. & Norgate, S. (2013)

An Internet of Cars, UTSG 45th Annual Conference, University of Oxford, January 2013.

Speed, C. & Shingleton, D. (2012)

An Internet of Cars: Connecting the Flow of Things to People, Artefacts, Environments and Businesses, Mobisys 2012: International Workshop Sense Transport '12 Proceedings of the 6th ACM workshop on Next generation mobile computing for dynamic personalised travel planning. pp. 11-12 ACM New York, NY, USA ©2012 ISBN: 978-1-4503- 1325-4


We understand the extent to which behavioural change in transport habits and practices can be facilitated through the creation of a new form of ‘transport network’, based on extending social tablet.pngnetworking principles to transport users.

Read More

Mobile Apps

The project has developed a suite of mobile phone apps for each of the corresponding research contexts. Watch videos and read details of the projects aims, phone-exploded.pngkey findings and outputs.

Read More


The 6ST team comprised researchers from the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Salford, people.pngBournemouth and Lancaster.

Read More