Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wireless tour guides for national parks

03.03.2004


Nature’s secrets are just about to become a little less secret. Armed with a modern mobile phone, outdoor-lovers will soon be able to roam Europe’s national parks and find their favourite animals and plants with ease. Getting lost there could also be a thing of the past.



The technology behind these services - including mobile telephony and personal digital assistants (PDAs) - is not new. What is innovative is the way they are combined to offer personalised location-based services. In the IST project WebPark, a consortium of partners from five countries has spent almost three years developing and testing a system that will enhance people’s recreational experience in coastal, rural and mountainous areas.

"Users of our system see all available information tree about their surroundings displayed on their mobile phone or PDA," says Debbrah Phan, project coordinator, from the Dutch company Geodan. "Visitors can access text, pictures and video about the park, its tourism facilities, and local fauna and flora, with their boots in the mud." Additional features enable users to trace their location on a digital map or to see how far they have walked.


The application plugs into various servers, which wirelessly feed the geographic and multimedia data to the mobile devices. To speed up information searches before their excursion, users can download megabytes of data onto their PDA. Much of this information already exists in national parks, in the form of CDs or kiosks. WebPark adds value by tailoring the information according to choices made by the device’s user.

Animal enthusiasts could halt on a mountain track and discover what species can be seen nearby. Or find the distance to the nearest mountain hut. The system will check the user’s temporal and spatial position before answering, making use of GPS localisation. Someone fascinated by geology could be alerted as soon as they approach a place of interest.

Understanding users’ needs

"Our surveys in the Swiss National Park and the Wadden Sea Park in The Netherlands show that users want relevant and accurate information, and they want it fast," says Phan. Also important to them are wildlife information, digital maps and safety information - among them weather changes and the state of the trails.

Areas such as national parks often suffer from poor mobile network coverage. The system can cope with this constraint since it’s accessible both online and offline. In offline mode it uses the previously cached data. The project distinguishes between general, freely accessible services and pay-per-use premium services based on Internet micropayments or a flat fee.

There are plans to improve the WebPark system and conduct more user acceptance tests. "We aim to develop a complete system that could be commercialised," says Phan. She adds that the Swiss mobile phone operator Swisscom is considering using these services as a test-bed for future mobile development. Managers of recreational areas also like the system’s information-push capabilities, which could be used to educate people about conservation or warn them of natural dangers such as avalanches.

Tara Morris | IST Results
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm?section=news&tpl=article&BrowsingType=Features&ID=62732
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment

20.04.2018 | Health and Medicine

Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

20.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars

20.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>