Generic framework for development of location-aware applications
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Today, several tourist attractions use handheld devices that act as tour guides to give the customers an improved experience and better knowledge of the attraction. A graphical user interface on the devices provides the users with information through sound, pictures and video. In order to improve the information delivered to the users, some of these guides are location-aware. However, location-aware tour guides are expensive to develop. They have to be developed tailored for each attraction, which is a time consuming job. By having a framework for the development of location-aware tour guides, the tour guides will be both easier and less expensive to develop. In addition, it will be easy to make changes to the guides if necessary. This project resulted in the development of a prototype for a framework for location-aware tour guides. The framework consists of three main tools; a Creator Tool, a Statistical Tool and a Runtime System. The Creator Tool is used to create and configure new tour guides. The Statistical Tool is used by the staff of the attraction. It generates statistics based on information stored in a log. The Runtime System is the system that provides the mobile devices information, adjusted to their location during a guided tour. To demonstrate the use of the framework, we have developed two client applications, one for PDAs and the other for cellphones. Both applications are electronically location-aware tour guides made for the Nidaros Cathedral. The cellphone application is an innovative application that may result in a tremendous evolvement in the development of cellphone applications. It shows great potentials in the area of location-aware cellphone applications with high accuracy, and can be used not only in tour attractions, but also in several other fields. Thus, the project has gained a great deal of publicity, both from newspapers and television.