Presentation of ‘Digital Tour Guide’ to Corfu tourism bodies

CORFU. Presentation of the ‘Digital Tour Guide using Augmented Reality and Holograms’ by the Interactive Arts Research Laboratory (inArts) of the Ionian University Department of Audio and Visual Arts.

December / 2021

The Interactive Arts Research Laboratory (inArts) of the Ionian University Department of Audio and Visual Arts organised a series of meetings to present the project ‘Digital Tour Guide using Augmented Reality and Holograms’ which is being implemented in collaboration with the Corfu Inspectorate of Antiquities and is funded by the European Union and the Operational Programme ‘Ionian Islands 2014-2020’.
The Scientific Assistant Professor and Scientific Manager of the project Ioannis Deligiannis made the presentation, which was specifically designed to address the different needs of the tourism professionals. He explained how the routes and their configuration work, how the possibility of overview of the monument through 360˚ video enhances the understanding of the user's position and how the holographic pyramids are one of the ways to make the content of the monument known to the visitors. He also emphasised that the metadata collected by the system can provide valuable information to all interested bodies, such as the needs for study and restoration of the monument, the fact that it will be available to all – especially by people with specific characteristics etc.
In the meeting with the Corfu Technical Chamber, the different parameters of the app's use by engineers and architects were highlighted and how the new photogrammetry and videogrammetry techniques that have evolved beyond photorealistic depiction, capture data important for the study and restoration of the monument.
The president of Corfu Technical Chamber Yiannis Metallinos confirmed the new possibilities provided by information systems and the importance of open data in terms of management, as they provide information that in the past was difficult to collect, stating the general interest of the tourism body he is representing for the project. The representative of the Corfu Architects Association Prokopis Nikitopoulos expressed his enthusiasm for the new imaging and promotion methods and the modelling process that is easier this way, as well as the need for continuous monitoring of the monument's state.
At the end of the presentation to the Corfu tourism professionals, the Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel Manager Giorgos Lindis expressed his interest for the app and a discussion followed on the possibilities offered by the new tools in terms of promotion of the cultural product through tourism businesses, which will fill the gap that exists in the sector. The President of Corfu Hoteliers' Association Babis Voulgaris spoke about the generalisation of the proposed methodology and its adoption by businesses in the sector, while Spyros Rokkas expressed his enthusiasm and support for the expansion of the content in order to cover areas beyond the monument of the Corfu Town historic centre.
The meeting with the Corfu Tour Guides Association was particularly interesting and productive and it was focused on the guiding possibilities provided by the system, since tour guides are one of the main users of the app, whose role is to complement the tour experience, to ‘teleport’ visitors to places they do not have access to, offering them details that may not be visible even during the in-person visit.
The History Department Professor Athanasios Efstathiou spoke about the importance of the tour in relation to the promotion of historical research and how the new tools enhance access to historical information.
The Tour Guides Association Board, along with its President Sissy Savvati, shared its own experiences and the needs arising from the different visitors they encounter on an annual basis, praised the programme and the initiative, agreed to participate in test presentations and contribute to the creation of the routes according to the actual needs as they arise from their experience.
Finally, it was agreed by all tourism bodies to participate in test tours and adapt the available themed tours so that the final system meets the real needs of visitors and can be used as a complete tour product by all interested bodies during the upcoming tourist season.