Tourist-Wide Infrastructure supported by Satellite Technology
Background & Objectives
Information and communication technologies have become of great importance for many human activities: one of these is represented by tourism, involving millions of people moving around the world every day. EGNOS, and in the near future GALILEO, represent enabling technologies for the implementation of innovative services and applications related to the concept of ‘personal info-mobility’ where information and data, regarding the territory and its resources, can be efficiently provided on demand to the tourists, taking into account their current position on the ground and their needs. The fruition of cultural heritage shows evidence of a growing importance in European society, particularly rich in cultural assets and demanding increasing attention. The European Commission gives high importance to the subject, promoting actions for improving the understanding and dissemination of the culture and history of European citizens, making cultural heritage increasingly available and accessible. The innovative idea behind this project is to help the tourist on a cultural visit to get the right information easily, at the right time and in the right place.
TWIST aims at satisfying needs related to the fruition of cultural heritage (in cities, museums, archaeological areas, etc.), demonstrating innovative applications and services based on EGNOS and Galileo, which are integrated with other emerging technologies such as mobile computing, web services, intelligent agents, RFId and digital watermarking.
The project objectives have been accomplished and demonstrated through the development, integration and demonstration of a system composed of:
- a service control centre: providing messaging functionalities between linked mobile terminals, and providing emergency services for the users;
- a guide: realising the real multimedia guide for the user;
- a web portal: by which the user can register to the service and specify his/her specific preferences;
- a web service: for the provision of information on points of interest via the Internet;
- a specific software solution: providing, via the Internet, images optimised for the visualisation on mobile terminals and representing high definition images of cultural assets.
The system is able to operate transparently both in outdoor and indoor environments, providing the user with a smooth transition between the two, and, in both contexts, providing the user with multimedia information (audio, text, images) related to cultural assets close to the user location, or directly chosen by the user. Moreover, information on cultural assets and other type of points of interest could be provided via the Internet by a web service, in a transparent way with respect to the user.
The project aims at satisfying needs related to the fruition of cultural heritage in different contexts (indoor and outdoor), both from the point of view of tourists and the owners of cultural assets. The overall goal was to realise and demonstrate live a proof of concept which validates the exploitation of EGNOS and the other emerging technologies in personal info-mobility applications for cultural tourists, facilitating their transfer into the market. The most important objectives were:
- to provide the user with information relevant to his/her location in the most reliable way, by means of a proximity function taking efficient advantage of the valuable characteristics of the EGNOS signal;
- to provide the user with information that could be stored locally on a mobile terminal, or remotely on a content provider and provided via the Internet through a web service, thus realising a decoupling between tasks related to data management and data provision, and increasing the amount of information that can be provided on mobile devices connected to the Internet.
As a long-term objective, TWIST intends to facilitate the visit of tourists by providing information on both cultural assets and logistic issues, thus facilitating the user in the deployment of a complete visit to a city, a museum or an archaeological area.
Work performed & results
The results include the following: - an overview of the applicative scenario and the reference projects, which shows the end user profile, classifies the user requirements and lists the applicative requirements; - starting from the assumptions made in relation to user requirements and applicative requirements, a list has been prepared of use cases, logical views of the system, a preliminary architecture design and a deployment view, giving a complete view of the various macro and micro software components, and of the system in its entire deployment; - report on the technologies applied in TWIST, on the benefits expected for the tourism market, and on the aspects influencing the transfer of these technologies into the market. - report on the analysis carried out on the project’s results, and compared with the project’s and user’s expectations, in terms of service provision and performances, highlighting the improvements with respect to current solutions and benefits brought.