There are many existing services to help you to discover a city you don't know, but the EU-funded CINeSPACE project is quite unique. It combines GIS and semantic technology to provide you with an intuitive and interactive way to discover the cultural heritage of a city. The CINeSPACE project combines several technologies including GPS to track your approximative position and optical and inertial tracking to refine it. You'll be able to rent the handheld at a tourist office or an airport, and your interactive tour will be designed according to your interests. The first field tests will be held in the beginning of 2009 in Glasgow, San Sebastian and Venice. But read more...
You can see above how a CINeSPACE handheld could be used in Venice, either to see videos of films shot there or to view visual archives about the city. (Credit: CINeSPACE project) This picture has been extracted from a video hosted by YouTube (5 minutes and 17 seconds). It's a very interesting film showing all the concepts and objectives of the CINeSPACE project.
The CINeSPACE project has an interesting motto, "Experiencing urban film and Cultural Heritage while on-the-move." Here is a link to the EU description of CINeSPACE. Here is the introduction. "Cinema is both an instrument of the imagination and a witness of instants, places and visions situated in time and space. Hence, film heritage has a strong potential as means for promoting traditional cultural subjects like architecture, history, literature or cultural diversity. On this basis, the CINeSPACE project team has taken the initiative to use film contents to promote access to urban and cultural objects through new interactive and creative experiences."
This project is coordinated by the Fomento San Sebastián SA, Spain. It started in July 2006 and should be completed by June 2009. The total cost of the project is about €3.16 million with a EU funding of €1.87 million.
Now, let's go back to the article of Directions Magazine. The author, Mans Shapshak, works for Trabajos Catastrales, S.A., a company which is part of the CINeSPACE consortium. Here is how Shapshak describes the navigation system developed by another partner, the Fraunhofer IGD group in Darmstadt, Germany. "uses four different technologies to allow maximum positioning accuracy. GPS is used to establish the position within approximately 10 meters. Then markerless optical tracking is used to establish a more defined location. Markerless tracking uses algorithms which compare reference images of real objects with images captured in real time to produce the current location and orientation compared with the location and orientation where a reference image was captured. This technique uses real images as opposed to artificially placed bar code-like images placed in the field view, as is the case with optical tracking with markers."
And here are the two other technologies used. "Then, inertial tracking is used by mathematically integrating the equations of motion to find the current position from acceleration data provided by integrated circuit accelerometers. Finally, additional orientation information is found from solid state accelerometers which measure the direction of the force created by the earth's gravitational field on microscopic cantilevers. An electronic 3D compass is used to provide the orientation of the device relative to the earth's magnetic field."
Of course, knowing where you are is not enough. The system needs to deliver multimedia relevant fotr you. This is why Tracasa SA has developed a semantic GIS technology, called Geoconcepts Ontology. "The GeoConcepts ontology provides a way to capture in a GIS system the spatial dimension of concepts, defining whether they are traditional geographic features (street, building or town) or vague concepts (events, daily activities, historical milestones or personalities) common to geospatial thinking."
For more information, please read the full Directions Magazine article. You also can look at the very well-done CINeSPACE brochure (PDF format, 4 pages, 383 KB).
Sources: Mans Shapshak, Tracasa SA, for Directions Magazine, September 29, 2008 ; and various websites
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