The Viseum project

Viseum was a project (from Sept 1996) to develop advanced Internet applications for museums. In particular a high speed network (ATM) was established between Vancouver, Berlin, Paris and London. This allowed fast interactivity with high resolution, accurate colour images of art. Techniques were also developed to allow a central index to be searched for data from various sites. Authorisation methods were implemented for access control, to allow valuable data to be available to subscribers. A CD-ROM jukebox was implemented at the test sites to allow the servers to maintain large images online.

Technical outline

The Viseum systems tested the limits of high speed Internet connections and the Web. Conventional internet access to art images only provided low resolution images due to bandwidth limitations. High quality data compression techniques now allow data to be transmitted to clients efficiently and Internet connections have become fast enough for interactive browsing.

Project legacy - IIPimage

Kirk wrote a simple Java app in 1996 to demo the idea of viewing large images using tiles. John Cupitt wrote the first really usable version together with a server to issue image tiles on demand. At that time a new Internet Imaging standard IIP was emereging, so we used that protocol. Kirk and John invented a tiled pyramidal Tiff image format which was ideal for the server side images and is still in use today. Then came Ruven Pillay who rewrote the code and added new features. The result of his hard work maintaining the package on sourceforge was IIPimage which is in wide use twenty years after we started. The best demos now - are here: IIPImage sourceforge site

Viseum project Participants

DeTeBerkom GmbH - Berlin
The University of Southampton - UK
Birkbeck College, University of London - UK
Laboratoire des reserches de France (LRMF) - F
The National Gallery, London - UK
NSM Jukebox - D
Canadian participants:
Advanced Cultural Technologies Inc
Newbridge Networks Corp
TeleGlobe Canada Inc
Research Networking Association of British Columbia
The British Columbia Virtual Museum Association

Funded by the European Community's ACTS programme

  back to Kirk Martinez homepage