Zornitza Yovcheva: 3D mobile, Context-Aware Tourism City Applications: Technology challenges and user requirements

Researcher: Zornitza Yovcheva

Zornitza Yovcheva’s undergraduate studies in Geography have taken her all over Europe. As well as studying at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria, she also travelled to France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy throughout her course.

More recently Zornitza’s MSc in Geo-Information Science was run collaboratively by four European universities,    allowing Zornitza to study at the University of Southampton, Lund University in Sweden, the University of Warsaw in Poland and the Faculty of ITC, University of Twente, in the Netherlands. And it was this experience that eventually led her to Bournemouth University.

 During my MSc I had the chance to experience the different academic systems across Europe, and I            particularly admired the British system. Plus I was really impressed by the excellence and variety of expertise offered by the School of Tourism at BU.

Before joining BU Zornitza was part of a development team designing a web-based globe application for work with animated maps – work that will relate to her PhD studies. Her main research interests expand the domains of     geo-visualisation, web and mobile GIS, human-computer interaction, usability engineering and computer            supported co-operative work.

“I’m interested in the design and implementation of various map-based applications and keen to investigate how different factors (from user characteristic to level of interactivity, visual variable and number of users) affect their usefulness. My work at the John Kent Institute in Tourism will involve working with 3D graphics in a mobile environment for city tourists. This change in context, user group and representation information fascinates me and I am looking forward to exploring the opportunities that such a novel environment offers tourists,” says Zornitza.

 

Her Research: 3D mobile, Context-Aware Tourism City Applications: Technology challenges and user requirements

Context-based services are one of the most promising technology enabling developments of recent years. This is particularly the case in tourism where consumers are by definition mobile and visit unfamiliar places for business or leisure purposes. Context-aware applications are applications that adapt themselves to a given situation (or       context). This mobile environment/context may include and encompass a range or combination of concepts, such as location, time and identity of user.

Mobile applications for tourism with context awareness are a cutting edge development area that is expected to drive research and business agendas in the future. However, only very recently have mobile devices been able to cope with the fairly advanced technical specification needed in order to create more engaging and rewarding        navigational experiences for users. Several appealing propositions for tourism attractions, retail companies and mobile operators are therefore expected to emerge from this technology.

The project will investigate the user requirements of 3D mobile applications in the tourism context. Based on these requirements and a study of existing technology, a cutting-edge, prototype using an interactive and fully            navigatable -3D graphical city mapping application will be explored in a given urban location, with a number of context based parameters added on top of it to make it even more functional, . The user will be able to fly and zoom through a photorealistic three-dimensional city model fluidly on his mobile device, all in 3D. An additional feature can be the introduction of augmented reality, which can operate by superimposing, using GPS and digital compass proximity and orientation, useful context-aware information on the camera display of the mobile device.

Experimental trials will be conducted, examining how user requirements have been met and the usefulness of the application on a number of levels; performance, human-computer interaction, usability and contribution to             customer satisfaction. It is anticipated that the research will explore fully the benefits of these technologies for       purchasing decisions, interaction with the environment and context as well as customer satisfaction in the tourism context.

The project will focus on user requirements and customer satisfaction and will also contribute to mobile information systems developments within tourism context-aware applications.

Hence this project has a dual contribution:

a) user requirements and contribution to information seeking and enjoyment within the context of the tourism         industry

and b) in the development of mobile information systems, user experiences, and human-computer interaction.

 

Zornitza is supervised in her PhD research by the School of Tourism’s Professor Dimitrios Buhalis and the School of Design, Engineering and Technology’s Dr Christos Gatzidis