The app, downloadable to phones and tablets and with headsets available free of charge, allows 360 degree views and historical snaps of the ship during different expeditions.
Smart History, a company based at St Andrews University, originally developed an augmented reality installation that led visitors interactively through the ship's masts and rigging while the rigging was being repaired. Using x-box controllers, a video screen and interactive visuals of RRS Discovery, visitors could take their own tour of the ship in a gaming-style exhibit.
The development of the app for download means that visitors can now walk the famous Antarctic exploration ship whilst viewing the app on their own phones or tablets. It includes drone footage of the ship and the surrounding area, 360 degree photospheres of the principal areas of the deck of the ship including Bowsprit, Quayside view, mizzenmast and mainmast, and historical photographs of that part of the ship during its different expeditions.
Dundee Heritage Trust, which runs the historic RRS Discovery at Dundee's waterfront, stressed that time is running out for visitors to witness the ship in its present once-in-a-lifetime state: free of masts and rigging, which have been removed for cleaning and repairs. The ship's missing parts are due to be replaced again at the end of May.
Mark Munsie, Operations Director for Dundee Heritage Trust said: "Our interactive exhibit has proved to be really popular and a great interactive way for families to explore the ship's history. Now, visitors can get an even more enhanced visitor experience thanks to this free app. We're looking forward to sharing the app and sharing Discovery - who will be mastless now for just a few more weeks - over Easter and beyond. This is the last time that visitors will be able to experience Discovery without her masts, which will probably never happen again - so a brilliant time to visit and see her as she's never been seen before!"
The app is available to download by searching for ‘RRS Discovery Virtual experience' on the iPhone app store or Google Play and can be downloaded for free in advance of a visit, or using the Wi-Fi available in the Café at the Point.
RSS Discovery tour staff are also making full use of the app on tablets, to illustrate the contrast between the masts now and how they look fully rigged. The app allows visitors to enjoy the virtual reality experience on their phones in normal or stereoscopic view, this can be enhanced with the use of headsets, available to borrow free of charge.
Dundee Heritage Trust, formed in 1985 to preserve and interpret Dundee's industrial past, operates RRS Discovery and social history museum Verdant Works, both five-star rated attractions and winners of numerous awards.