Globe-trotter is a mobile phone application that works as a very personal guide to backpackers. The main reason why we designed this is because current backpackers don’t have convenient access to information about cultural and heritage sites when they visit them. Say, a backpacker visits the Merlion statue near the Esplanade. He has never in his life seen a creature like that and would not know what why it is half fish and half lion. Simply by taking a photograph of it, Globe-trotter would be able to use GPS to identify the place and provide him more information about the origin of the merlion. This is fuss-free because backpackers already carry mobile phones, so they only need to download the application from accommodation places such as hostels, motels and hotels.
We have learned that backpackers are a very unique group of tourists. They travel either alone or in small groups, and because of a small budget, use a lot of public transport and live in budget accommodation. Conventional tourists are satisfied just being led on a guided tour and visiting Singapore’s famous places of interest. But backpackers want to experience the real local culture of the country, so they enjoy meeting locals and visiting lesser-known local haunts. Backpackers also carry their daily essentials with them wherever they go, so our application which uses the camera function of their mobile phones is convenient for them to use while traveling. Backpackers in Singapore also face some problems while traveling. They might not understand how the various MRT lines work, what buses to take to their destinations, which places are worth their time visiting, and when they arrive--what exactly is so significant about a temple, a church or just an ordinary-looking building?
Globe-trotter lets you do 4 things: plan, explore, make friends, and remember Singapore. Globe-trotter allows backpackers to plan their daily itinerary, so that they can better organize their day to day schedules and complete every sight they wish to see in Singapore during their time here. This is because one common problem backpackers face is the amount of time they spend just wandering around a country, lost and trying to get to their destination.This wastes time and reduces the number of places they can visit. This problem cannot be easily solved just by having a map and a ‘Lonely Planet’ guide. Globe-trotter is an interactive application that uses GPS to guide them until they have reached their destinations. At their destination, Globe-trotter is also able to provide information on why the the heritage site or monument is an important or interesting landmark.
Backpackers often make friends with other backpackers on their vacations and exchange contact details, in case they might plan another trip in future and need a companion. Globe-trotter makes such networking easier. Backpackers can actually see which other backpackers are also in Singapore and make plans with them to explore Singapore together. Of course, both parties would have to be users of Globe-trotter to be detectable. In addition, there is a traveler’s journal function for them to write their personal reflections on their trips to cultural sites, or their stay in Singapore overall. Both their photos and their journal entries will be uploaded to their profile which can be viewed by other Globe-trotter users. This provides another avenue for backpackers worldwide to network and make friends.
Singapore’s well developed transportation facilities make it a backpacker-friendly place. The many different routes and modes of transport available also give travelers more choices, depending on what kind of experience they are seeking. Globe-trotter is able to give users directions on how to take the fastest route, OR the “most cultural route” which will bring them to more culture spots en route to their destination. Singapore is also one of the most connective and wired countries, both in terms of mobile phone penetration (about 130%) and wifi coverage, which complements the usage of our application. Singaporeans are also quite reserved about talking to strangers and can be quite poor in giving directions, especially to foreigners. This is because Caucasians and mainland Chinese find it very difficult to understand our Singaporean English and Mandarin accents. The other reason is that we cannot speak many other languages that foreigners do, like Japanese, Korean, French, German, etc. Globe-trotter solves this problem because it is textual and visual, not audio, and also because its content can be viewed in many different languages. Singapore is a melting pot of different ethnic heritage and cultures, and has preserved many heritage sites like places of worship, war monuments, colonial buildings, etc. Some are well-known, some are not, but users can be introduced to all of them by Globe-trotter.
I will now show you the step-by-step process a user goes through when using this application. 1. First, our backpacker user can download this application from any backpackers’ hostel, motel or hotel onto his phone. The main menu lets him choose the category of places he would like to visit.
2. From there, he can make a checklist of the places he wants to go, either randomly or selectively, This checklist allows him to plan his time accordingly. It also serves as a guide to the various cultural attractions in Singapore.
3. Then, he can start his trip to the first stop, for example, Chinatown. For directions to Chinatown, there is a choice between using the fastest route or the cultural route. The fastest route is the route that allows one to get from one point to another in the shortest time possible. The cultural route is a much longer route that brings the backpacker through the hidden cultural “secrets ” of Singapore before reaching their destination. The cultural “secrets” are those that are usually not portrayed in the packaged version found in brochures, guides etc. For example, the hidden back alley barbers in Chinatown or the Bangladesh square in Little India.
4. After choosing a route, a notification informs the backpacker of other backpackers who, like him, are also heading to the same destination. He can choose to meet up with them by going to their profile and getting their contact details. This is an opportunity for him to meet other backpackers.
5. On reaching his destination, he can use his phone camera to take a photo of any significant buildings or sculptures and the name of the building will hover over the image. This uses the GPS technology. The backpacker can then tap on the building name to get more information about its cultural aspects.
6. From there, he can move to the next destination on his checklist.
7. As he travels, information on his recent destinations, friends he has made recently, as well as his daily travel journal entries and photographs, will be automatically uploaded onto his profile, which can be viewed by other Globe-trotter users.
Globe-trotter can be easily downloaded from accommodation places like hostels, hotels and motels. It is a mobile source of information, unlike signboards. It provides only the information that the user seeks, unlike the tour guide who provides a package of ready, general information whether you are interested in it or not. It provides a balance between sources of static limited information like brochures and sources of interactive massive information like the Internet, which can turn up too much information and make it a time-consuming hassle to single out the specific information you really want, especially on a small device like a handphone or a PDA. The Globe-trotter is casual but informative, not intense like a travel book, so using it to find information on the go is easy and convenient. It is also tailored to backpackers’ needs, providing very relevant information like good budget eating places and cheap accommodation. These backpackers come from different countries, so the Globe-trotter’s interface can display content in different languages like Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, etc. Above all, the Globe-trotter also respects the backpacker’s liking for a sense of adventure and freedom in exploring. It does not tell them what to do or where to go. It only offers an array of choices with sufficient information for the users to make their own decisions.
Nm2216 Presentation 1.0
Goh Yee Hong • Jerrick Chong • Jonathan Tan • Lee Meixian • Nur Syuhada Globe-trotter : A backpacker’s guide to Singapore’s culture By DW1-03
Globe-Trotter : An Overview <ul><li>Mobile phone application that works as a very personal backpacker’s guide </li></ul><ul><li>WHY? </li></ul><ul><li>Little access to information about Singapore’s cultural sites as they travel </li></ul><ul><li>Globe-trotter is an informative guide that introduces and explains the significance and history of such places </li></ul><ul><li>Backpackers already carry mobile phones, so it assimilates into their way of travel </li></ul>
People: Backpackers <ul><li>Independent travelers on budget seeking culture authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Likes meeting locals and visiting less-known local haunts </li></ul><ul><li>Carry backpacks, cameras, maps and mobile phones around </li></ul><ul><li>Backpackers have unmet needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting around Singapore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciding places to visit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insufficient access to information about the places they visit </li></ul></ul>
Activities <ul><li>1. PLANNING </li></ul><ul><li>Schedules daily itinerary </li></ul><ul><li>2. EXPLORING </li></ul><ul><li>Provides directional information </li></ul><ul><li>Informative guide to cultural sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major places of interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less-known localized places </li></ul></ul>
Activities (Cont’d) <ul><li>3. MAKING FRIENDS </li></ul><ul><li>Networking with other backpackers </li></ul><ul><li>4. REMEMBERING SINGAPORE </li></ul><ul><li>Photos and journal entries on profile page </li></ul>
Context <ul><li>PHYSICAL </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to get around by public transport </li></ul><ul><li>Very wired, with extensive connectivity </li></ul><ul><li>SOCIAL </li></ul><ul><li>Singaporeans more reserved, less comfortable talking to strangers, and not very good in giving foreigners directions </li></ul><ul><li>Constrained by language - English/Mandarin </li></ul><ul><li>CULTURE </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-ethnic, multi-cultural </li></ul><ul><li>Many rich heritage sites to explore </li></ul>
Strengths <ul><li>Easily available </li></ul><ul><li>Mobility </li></ul><ul><li>Information provided is specific </li></ul><ul><li>Balance between static limited information (e.g. brochures) and interactive massive information (e.g. Internet) </li></ul><ul><li>Casual but informative (not intense like books) </li></ul><ul><li>Specifically tailored to backpacker’s needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Available in different major languages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retains backpacker’s liking for freedom in exploring (vs. guided packaged tours) </li></ul></ul>
Criticisms <ul><li>What other needs do you think backpackers have that this application has not met? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you foresee any circumstances where our application may “over-help” backpackers, or beat the purpose of their traveling? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(E.g. perhaps they in fact enjoy just wandering around with no destination in mind) </li></ul></ul>