GPS-enabled mobile devices vs. Heritage

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A presentation for a lecture at the Emuni Master in Bari, Italy, 2012, based on a short paper presented at the Université de Limoges, October 2008.

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GPS-enabled mobile devices vs. Heritage

  1. 1. Università degli Studi di BergamoCentro Studi per il Turismo e lInterpretazione del Territorio (CeSTIT)Dipartimento di Scienze dei linguaggi, della comunicazionee degli studi culturaliFacoltà di Lingue e Letterature straniereGPS-enabled Mobile Devicesvs. HeritageRoberto PerettaEuromediterranean Master in Culture and TourismICT Quality Management in Tourism CommunicationApril 2011
  2. 2. What are we talking about? A warning from the British Cartographic Society Map-making revolutionised Can heritage be “delivered” through PNDs? PNDs, heritage and tourist destinations Future issues Voice as an interfaceEuromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 2
  3. 3. An authoritative warning During the 2008 Conference of the Royal Geographical Society, the President of the British Cartographic Society, Mary Spence, issued a warning: “Internet mapping may be wiping out the countrys heritage”.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 3
  4. 4. Disappear from consciousness! According to Spence, “the focus of internet maps on providing driving directions produced by internet giants has meant that the whereabouts of the thousands of churches, ancient woodlands, stately homes and eccentric landmarks which make up the rich tapestry of the British landscape could disappear from public consciousness.”Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 4
  5. 5. Map-making revolutionised… Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google, commented: “The Internet is revolutionising map making. We’re moving towards a future where interactive maps will display precisely the information people want, when they want it. It’s adding a whole new dimension, literally, to cartography: now anyone can create their own maps or use their experiences to collaborate with others in charting their local knowledge. In the future, no two maps will be the same, and this is something we should embrace.”Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 5
  6. 6. Personal Navigation Devices Spence’s reference to “driving directions” brings us to the reason why internet mapping has become so important both socially and academically speaking. Internet mapping is in fact the main information source for GPS-enabled mobile devices. The diffusion of Personal Navigation Devices (PND) like those offered by TomTom, Garmin or Mio has in fact dramatically increased in recent years.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 6
  7. 7. Georeferencing vs. heritage What do GPS-enabled mobile devices ultimately rely on? Who provides georeferencing, i.e. the geographical and topographical foundations for internet mapping? Is that provider – or are those providers – anyhow likely to care about heritage, e.g. by adding information on heritage to mass- distributed geographical and topographical data?Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 7
  8. 8. Navteq and TeleAtlas Today, the GIS data market for internet mapping and GPS-enabled mobile devices is basically a duopoly between Navteq, a company with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, and TeleAtlas, a Netherlands-based company. Whether “corporate cartographers” from Navteq or TeleAtlas care for heritage is another way of placing the question Spence has raised.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 8
  9. 9. Google vs. tradition There well may be a “Google-based answer” to Spence’s call. Still a source for GIS-based heritage information, or a bunch of reliable sources like the old-time national mapping agencies and geographic societies, might perhaps continue to exist.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 9
  10. 10. A “heritage-delivering” PND Not surprisingly, this approach was taken as early as in 2005 by one of the oldest and more traditional tourist publishers in the world, Touring Editore, based in Milan as the publishing company of the non-profit mass association Touring Club Italiano, or Touring Club of Italy (TCI). Their idea was to market a PND capable to deliver georeferenced information on heritage as well as driving directions.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 10
  11. 11. The Navigatore Touring T-370 The Navigatore Touring T-370 was born around Christmas 2006. It was a really innovative device. Users could - and still can - drive (or walk) around and instantly see which pieces of heritage they are passing by. They can also skim through long lists of pieces of heritage and get directions on how to reach them.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 11
  12. 12. Heritage routes and POIs Moreover, the Navigatore Touring allows users to follow heritage routes across Italy suggested by the TCI, read descriptions of both routes and the points of interest (churches, museums, historic buildings, ... as well as hotels, restaurants and the like) listed, and in many instances use pictures of the points of interest themselves.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 12
  13. 13. Heritage through voice What’s more, the ability to deliver voice instructions included by most PNDs was stretched by the Navigatore Touring well beyond the common driving directions functionalities. Thanks to a Text-to-Speech (TTS) piece of software, the same heritage content that users can read on the Navigatore Touring’s tiny screen can also be listened to, like an outdoor audioguide.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 13
  14. 14. PNDs, heritage and people In 2007 the Navigatore Touring was put to use by the author of this presentation in an attempt to introduce what looked like the guest of stone – a missing character, a forgotten actor, an unsolved problem – in the dialogue among mobile devices, heritage and people, i.e. tourist destinations.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 14
  15. 15. A workshop in the Lakes area In 2007 a group of ten students, two lecturers and a senior professor from the University of Bergamo made contact with two local communities in the Lakes region – a well- known tourist destination in Northern Italy – and had local experts (museum curators, archaeological surveyors, official tourist guides) lead them throughout their own territory interpreting it under a heritage approach.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 15
  16. 16. Tracking heritage All along such heritage-compliant guided tours, two Navigatore Touring devices were used in order to georeference the visited points of interest – a number of which were off the beaten tracks, hence not geocodable – as well as to trace the paths that the party followed.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 16
  17. 17. Destinations, heritage, PNDs? The rationale was to test whether a tourist destination can – if its community and its experts cooperate with young scholars – enter a heritage-compliant content aggregation process as far as GPS-enabled mobile devices (not simply tourist paper guidebooks or brochures) are concerned. The answer was yes.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 17
  18. 18. A European project More recently (2007-2009), the EU-Latitude European project successfully tested a similar approach. It has been established that tourist destinations can – if their communities cooperate with dedicated publishers – enter a heritage-compliant content aggregation process as far as GPS-enabled mobile devices (not simply tourist paper guidebooks or brochures) are concerned.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 18
  19. 19. Food for thought. 1 Lastly, we’d like to provide some food for thought about potential developments. 1. GPS-enabled mobile devices and proximity. We envision a viable future in which people (tourists) will be able to get relevant information on the heritage points of interest they are physically approaching through their GPS-enabled mobile phones, by the very fact they are approaching them.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 19
  20. 20. Food for thought. 2 2. Language issues. Pieces of text designed to deliver information on heritage through GPS-enabled mobile devices should be devised and written in order to be easily translatable under different cultures.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 20
  21. 21. Food for thought. 3 3. Management issues. Aggregation and delivery of relevant information on heritage bound to be released through GPS-enabled mobile devices are a mix of processes, in which traditional cartographers, internet mappers, specialized publishers, telecoms and destination manage- ment organizations (can) all play a role.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 21
  22. 22. Food for thought. 4 4. Ergonomics and usability of mobile devices. Due to ergonomic limits that are part and parcel with mobile devices, this information on heritage is likely to be delivered less as readable text than as voice. In the tourist information world, too, Text-to-Speech – and possibly its counterpart, voice recognition – may become more popular than it is today.Euromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 22
  23. 23. Thanks! Any questions? Università degli Studi di Bergamo Centro Studi per il Turismo e lInterpretazione del Territorio (CeSTIT) Dipartimento di Scienze dei linguaggi, della comunicazione e degli studi culturali Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature straniere Roberto Peretta roberto.peretta@unibg.itEuromediterranean Master in Culture and Tourism, ICT Quality Management 23

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