The miniaturisation of laser sources, charge-coupled device electronic control boxes and increasing Lap-top computer capacity led to a revolution in Raman spectrometry: Measurements can be made outside the laboratory with transportable, mobile and ultramobile instruments, even in severe conditions (e.g. rock shelter in mountains). However, many specific difficulties must be previously solved: The variety of mobile laser sources remains limited to red and green excitations, the positioning/focusing and protection against solar/bulb lighting are difficult and, more importantly, the spectral resolution and spectral window are limited. Nevertheless, the definition of good procedures and the use of advanced optics allow the on-site analysis of various cultural heritage materials: pigments of pastels, miniatures, drawings, glasses, enamels and glazes, rock art, crystalline and amorphous phases of pottery, enamelled glass artefacts or stained glasses, bronze and brass patinas, etc. Simultaneously, mobile instruments equipped with a telescope and pulsed Yttrium Aluminum Garnet laser are being implemented for planetary mission (Mars). The present state of the art and future development are discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.