The Mobile Tourist Guide is conceived as an innovative application for elderly tourists at their destination. The basic approach is to develop an audio guide that can be downloaded in a mobile phone. In fact the Mobile Tourist Guide is implemented as a multimedia guide, but the main emphasis is on speech. The main innovation is the real time synchronization of the speech with the sequence of actions of a real visit. The basic idea is to perform a simulation as close as possible to a human guide in the sense that the user receives most of the information through speech allowing the user to hear the explanations while he focus his attention on the real thing. That last aspect is considered essential so that the user is not distracted and can focus all his attention on the real scenario while attending to the audio explanation. In that sense the functionality of the proposed audio guide is radically different from traditional multimedia guides that run offline and cannot achieve the same level of performance since they are not designed to be used on the run. The proposed Mobile Tourist Guide guides the user through the visit from one interesting topic to the other by means of audio messages or navigation maps. The Mobile Tourist Guide proposed competes favorably with a paper guide since it supports a much denser and richer multimedia material in a more reduced enclosure (basically a mobile). The guide includes relevant  information to the presence of facilities for the handicapped, physical conditions required for the visit, time required to complete the visit, etc.

Functionality

The VITAS Mobile Tourist Guide Service is based on the Tourist Spot concept. A tourist spot represents a physical location that involves a relevant interest for the user from the cultural, artistic or historic point of view. It is equivalent to a point of interest in a real tourist visit. Every Tourist Spot has an associated corpus of information describing the Spot, its historical facts as well as any other related information. This information will be basically represented in the form of speech, but may also include other multimedia contents.

The following images present the mobile interface:

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VITAS and the VITAL project were co-financed by the European Commission.

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