MiniGIST :: About
:: About MiniGIST ::
In 2006 the Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing Research group at Glasgow Caledonian University undertook the development of a research project titled Miniaturised Geographic Information System for Tourism (MiniGIST). In summary, the MiniGIST system allows the on-site dynamic delivery of map-based tourist information (currently text-based but easily extensible to include multimedia).
The project's primary targets were
- to provide dynamically updated, live tourist information to the modern-age tourist by exploiting the mobile devices they carry with them at a nominal cost to the tourist;
- to encourage and facilitate the engagement of local communities and local businesses in the tourism industry with modern technologies, such as location based services and mobile advertising;
- to stimulate tourism business growth and enhance the visitor experience through the provision of mobile and location-based services that increase awareness of the tourism-related businesses and their services.
The MiniGIST system uses the concept of an “access point” – fixed locations within an area of interest – to deliver data to tourists’ mobiles. These access points consist of a Bluetooth enabled computing device (this can be anything from a PC, laptop, kiosk or dedicated ruggedised miniature computer). Bluetooth is a short-range radio protocol mostly used for the transfer of small amounts of data across mobile devices (such as photos or songs) and is found on almost every model of mobile device produced in the last three years.
To receive the tourist information, tourists connect their mobile phone with the access point wirelessly, via a very simple “pairing” process. Once the phone and access point are connected, the access point automatically sends the data (application and content) to the tourist’s phone, at absolutely no cost to the tourist. The access points can alternatively be configured to look for Bluetooth devices in their vicinity and automatically send the data to them, without tourists explicitly instantiating the connection. The system has a range of approximately 8-10 meters.
The project development was completed in 2007 and a prototype of the system was launched for a live trial in the town of Callander on the 29th of May 2008. The screenshots in our Multimedia section show the mobile client interface from the Callander Prototype and illustrate the simplicity and intuitive nature of the application. The application runs on most mobile phone makes and models, including touch-screen based devices (supports stylus tapping).
Advantages of MiniGIST
The MiniGIST system offers many advantages to its users, both from a business perspective and an end-user perspective:
- A low-cost, dynamic additional form of advertisement
- Makes a business visible to customers who might have otherwise missed it
- A way to keep potential customers continuously up to date with the latest offerings.
- Enhances the image of the business by enhancing its technological profile
- Minimal equipment cost
- No training required
- Requires minimal time commitment for business to keep information fresh
- Can add value to business (if it chooses to become an access point)
- The application is free to use, and downloadable at no cost to visitors over Bluetooth access points in the areas of interest (such as attractions, museums, hotels, B&Bs etc).
- Extremely simple, intuitive and easy to use application on their mobiles – beats usability of existing mobile map applications by a large margin.
- No roaming and network connectivity charges.
- Requires no special equipment
- Enhances tourist experience
- Tourist Information is available on a 24/7 basis