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GPS-Triggered Location-Based
Technologies at Parks Canada:
The Explora Project
Tamara Tarasoff & Morag Hutcheson
(Parks Ca...
Parks Canada Agency
Who We Are and What We Do
•We are a federal agency mandated to protect and present nationally
signific...
Why GPS-triggered Location-based Technology?
Many perceived benefits
• No physical infrastructure
required, works in remot...
Should Parks Canada Invest in this Technology?
Two supporting questions
1. Can Parks Canada staff
develop this type of
tec...
Content Developed by Staff? Yes!
• 150 days of site staff time to develop the first project; half this time
needed to deve...
User Evaluation: Research Questions
1. How do visitors use the device?
2. How does this technology affect the
experience o...
Methodology
253 395
102 192
12 10
278 384
Data collected between July 8th
(at SH) and July 14th
(at KJ) to Sept. 15th
, 20...
1. How Was It Used?
Data logs show actual use
•Red = Pushed POIs
•Green = User actions
(low speed)
Many users explore
cont...
1. How Was It Used?
Typical use of the device
Visitors typically DO
• Read content out loud to other group members
• Inter...
2. How Was the Experience?
Experience Statements - Agreement Scores
85%
67%
94%
78%
82%
93%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Made h...
2. How Did It Change the Experience?
Before and After Mean Retrospective Scores
3.76
4.00
4.00
4.13
4.50
4.62
4.25
4.54
1....
3. What Was Learned?
Learning Statements - Agreement Scores
85%
91% 88% 87%89% 86%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Learned more ab...
3. What Was Learned?
Signal Hill - Changes in Learning
2.53
2.73
2.93 2.95
4.46 4.37 4.43
4.18
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
Awarene...
4. How Much Would They Pay?
Price sensitivity for a 1/2-day rental?
83%
0%
14%
75%
4%
21%
100%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Fre...
5. Which Users Reacted Most Positively?
They all did.
• There is no category that reacted negatively to the technology.
• ...
Recommendations and Lessons Learned
•Focus on the content, not the
technology
•Tailor the content to your audience
•Focus ...
What’s Next?
•Facilitate adoption by Parks
Canada sites
•More user research
Questions? More info?
tamara.tarasoff@pc.gc.ca...
Costs to develop the first and subsequent
Explora projects
Item
Year 1: Cost for first
project
Year 2-6: Costs for
sustain...
Time required to develop the first and
subsequent Explora projects
Function Days for First Project Days for Subsequent Pro...
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GPS-Triggered Location-Based Technologies at Parks Canada: The Explora Project

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A presentation at Museums and the Web 2009.

Morag Hutcheson, Parks Canada, Canada
Tamara Tarasoff, Parks Canada, Canada
Christophe Rhin, Camineo, France

Handheld GPS-triggered location-based devices seem ideal for outdoor heritage sites. In this age of economic strain, they may be able to attract new audiences and draw existing audiences to return more often. But what do we really know about how these devices impact visitor experience and learning? Which segments of our audience do they actually appeal to? Can heritage institutions with limited financial and human resources develop these types of projects sustainably? To find out, between November 2007 and July 2008, Parks Canada staff developed and launched three handheld GPS-triggered tours. The process of developing the tours was monitored closely throughout the 8-month development period, and feedback gathered from team members and other staff. Then during the two-month pilot period, over 1000 visitors used the devices; regular feedback was provided by both users and staff.

The project had many positive outcomes, including recommendations for streamlining the development process and product delivery, a better understanding of the target audience, and suggestions for improving the usability and effectiveness of the devices.

Session: Location-Aware Services [Technology]

Published in: Technology, Business
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GPS-Triggered Location-Based Technologies at Parks Canada: The Explora Project

  1. 1. GPS-Triggered Location-Based Technologies at Parks Canada: The Explora Project Tamara Tarasoff & Morag Hutcheson (Parks Canada) Christophe Rhin (Camineo) 18 April 2009
  2. 2. Parks Canada Agency Who We Are and What We Do •We are a federal agency mandated to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage •We manage 42 national parks, 158 national historic sites, 3 national marine conservation areas from coast to coast to coast
  3. 3. Why GPS-triggered Location-based Technology? Many perceived benefits • No physical infrastructure required, works in remote outdoor settings • Could appeal to existing and reach new audiences (Banff New Media Institute Research, 2007) • Could contribute to learning and meaningful visitor experience (WebPark, Dias 2007)
  4. 4. Should Parks Canada Invest in this Technology? Two supporting questions 1. Can Parks Canada staff develop this type of technology project using their own resources and expertise? 2. How do GPS-triggered, location-based devices affect visitor learning and experience in outdoor settings?
  5. 5. Content Developed by Staff? Yes! • 150 days of site staff time to develop the first project; half this time needed to develop subsequent trails • Staff needed: part-time project manager and interpreter; GIS specialist, subject matter experts, visitor services, IT, others
  6. 6. User Evaluation: Research Questions 1. How do visitors use the device? 2. How does this technology affect the experience of visitors on the trail? 3. What do visitors learn from it? 4. Would visitors rent a device like this if it were available, here or in other parks or sites? 5. Which segments of the audience are most positive towards this technology?
  7. 7. Methodology 253 395 102 192 12 10 278 384 Data collected between July 8th (at SH) and July 14th (at KJ) to Sept. 15th , 2008 Tally Sheets Questionnaires Observation Diaries Data Logs n (SH) n (KJ)
  8. 8. 1. How Was It Used? Data logs show actual use •Red = Pushed POIs •Green = User actions (low speed) Many users explore content at start and at each pushed point of interest.
  9. 9. 1. How Was It Used? Typical use of the device Visitors typically DO • Read content out loud to other group members • Interact with each other and the surroundings • Access 2nd level content (select ‘More’, Quiz, Audio or Video button) Visitors typically DO NOT • Access content that is not attached to a POI • Argue over the device • Get distracted by the technology itself
  10. 10. 2. How Was the Experience? Experience Statements - Agreement Scores 85% 67% 94% 78% 82% 93% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Made hiking experience more enjoyable The device was easy to use The device was a fun activity to do with kids Signal Hill Kejimkujik
  11. 11. 2. How Did It Change the Experience? Before and After Mean Retrospective Scores 3.76 4.00 4.00 4.13 4.50 4.62 4.25 4.54 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 Enthusiasm for activities like this one (SH) Enthusiasm for activities like this one (KJ) Interest in learning more about SH Interest in learning more about KJ Signal Hill Kejimkujik (Before) (Before) (Before) (Before) (After) (After) (After) (After)
  12. 12. 3. What Was Learned? Learning Statements - Agreement Scores 85% 91% 88% 87%89% 86% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Learned more about the site Better understanding of landscape & natural processes Noticed something they would not have noticed on their own Signal Hill Kejimkujik
  13. 13. 3. What Was Learned? Signal Hill - Changes in Learning 2.53 2.73 2.93 2.95 4.46 4.37 4.43 4.18 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 Awareness: people lived here for 300 years Awareness: natural features of landscape Understanding: importance of SH for defense Understanding: use of SH for communications Before the HGD Experience After the HGD experience
  14. 14. 4. How Much Would They Pay? Price sensitivity for a 1/2-day rental? 83% 0% 14% 75% 4% 21% 100% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Free $4-$6 $7-$10 $11-$15 Signal Hill Kejimkujik • Majority would pay ($4 - $6) for a 1/2-day rental • Little appetite for prices exceeding $6
  15. 15. 5. Which Users Reacted Most Positively? They all did. • There is no category that reacted negatively to the technology. • The technology clearly has a broad appeal.
  16. 16. Recommendations and Lessons Learned •Focus on the content, not the technology •Tailor the content to your audience •Focus on pushed/main content •Not a one-time investment •Start small – but start! •Try out a device early •Create, test on location, adjust, test…
  17. 17. What’s Next? •Facilitate adoption by Parks Canada sites •More user research Questions? More info? tamara.tarasoff@pc.gc.ca christophe.rhin@camineo.com
  18. 18. Costs to develop the first and subsequent Explora projects Item Year 1: Cost for first project Year 2-6: Costs for sustaining project Amortized cost per year over 6 years Software license and support TBD TBD TBD First project set up fee TBD 0 TBD 12 PDAs and accessories 4600 4000 1433 Equipment (laptop, digital camera, etc.) 0-3000 0 0-500 Satellite reradiator 900 0 150 Storage rack and charging station 200 0 33 Travel for team members 0-1000 0-5000 0-1000 Translation 2500 12500 2500 Copyright fees 500 2500 500 Illustrations, AV 850 4250 850 GIS data 200 0 34 Promotional material: signage, flyers 2600 1000 600 Total $12,350-16,350 $24,250-29,250 $6,100-7,600 Costs to develop first and subsequent Explora projects Assumptions: Scale and nature of project is similar to Explora pilot; assumes site will update and add content each year
  19. 19. Time required to develop the first and subsequent Explora projects Function Days for First Project Days for Subsequent Project Project Manager 20-30 10-15 Interpreter 80-100 30-50 GIS Specialist 12 4 Subject Matter Experts 8 8 Visitor Services 8 4 CIO 4 4 Operations/Facilities 8 2 Total 140-170 days 62-87 days Explora Project: Time Required to Develop First and Subsequent Projects Assumptions: Scale and nature of project is similar to Explora pilot; excludes time for support from Explora support team

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