Web infrastructure for the collaborative modeling on a discrete global grid of geographic spaces with tourist interest

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This project proposes the development of a web infrastructure that will allow scientific-technical advances in the field of collaborative applications and neogeography, supporting the creation and maintenance of geographic information related to tourism, and with a strong emphasis on the possibility of sharing personal and emotional experiences. The project will be demonstrated on a prototype tourist web application for a comarca (an administrative area) of Aragon.

The georeferencing of locations in this infrastructure will be based on a geodesic grid, on which entrepreneurs and tour operators, the inhabitants of tourist destinations and tourists themselves will be able to design and share collaboratively places of potential tourist interest and some experiences associated with them. The software infrastructure developed will be published as free/open software.

Neogeography has led to a greater collaboration between experts and the general public in creating and keeping different types of geographical data up to date. This collaboration should allow us to go deeper and deeper into the knowledge of the physical space, space that today must be considered under new dimensions linked to the technological and digital revolution, what we have generically called as flexidimensional space, which also requires new thematic cartography solutions to be properly explored, something that will also be addressed in the project.

The system addresses especially the aspects of creation, edition and shared ownership of geographic data, including those that classic cartography does not usually consider, such as emotional valuations (a quiet space where to enjoy a coffee), diffuse and temporal areas (the area of your neighborhood where you have organized a “treasure hunt” with your friends), semi-private places (my favorite corner of the park), or areas of diffuse and debatable boundaries (a “tapas area”). The need to define and share this type of geographic data arises naturally in the context of tourist experiences, where it is increasingly valued to enjoy, discover and share more personal experiences, something that is shown for example on the rise of portals such as TripAdvisor.

The web infrastructure requires the creation of geographic locations on sets of cells selected from a geodesic grid (located and uniquely identified, and with support for multiple resolutions), and each of these locations has, by construction, a unique URL (web address), which is an essential requirement for its integration into the Web. There are no different types of geometries (points, lines, polygons or others), nor integration problems derived from georeferenced information based on different coordinate systems, datums or ellipsoids. There is also no need to define Features or Spatial Things classes and assign unique identifiers to their instances a posteriori, nor it is required that there exists, or that there is a need to create, a toponym to associate the information with.