Virtual Trondheim: A Virtual Environment for Tourism and Education
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The purpose of this study is to investigate whether educational activities in tourismcan be supported by virtual reality technologies, using virtual world frameworks.Settings of virtual world of SecondLife and a recent Virtual Reality technologyknown as Oculus Rift were used in the thesis work with the city of Trondheim asthe main context.Theoretical studies on Virtual Reality systems were conducted and data for theresearch were obtained through empirical studies conducted in Trondheim. Datafor this study were collected on the basis of empirical studies on existing prototypewhich was developed in Fall 2014, with Trondheim tourist office visitors, withtourism professionals such as tourist guide course instructor and students attendingguide course. Data obtained were analysed and an improved version of VirtualTrondheim, a touristic educational island, was implemented that include majortourist attractions and some facilities to learn about Trondheim city. After the implementationa further evaluation was done in which respondents filled a form toexpress their opinions. It was conducted with high school students on Åpendag atNTNU and visitors at tourist office and Vitensenterest. Also interviews were conductedfor detailed evaluation with tourist office employees and with students atNTNU(Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet).The results suggests that virtual reality systems have a potential in tourism industry.The Virtual Trondheim in the virtual world of SecondLife have possibilities to useit as an educational tool in tourism industry and also it can be useful for the touristas an information source. In addition it is possible for the tourism professionals touse the system as educational aid and for the promotion of the place. Yet anotherpossibility is that this can be useful for students to learn about the place in general.