Team: Alex C. Olivieri, Shaban Shabani, Maria Sokhn, Basma Makhlouf
City-Zen is an interactive spatio-temporal knowledge-browsing platform that aims to valorise cultural heritages. Considering the explosive growth of information, data and knowledge sharing can ensure valuable interdisciplinary applications. While many organizations propose relevant data sets, they are hardly accessed, analysed and reused because of the formats inconsistency and the inappropriate information browsing and visualization. The goal of the project is to valorise the existing cultural heritage through a citizen centric design platform. The use case of this project involves a user willing to discover the history of a region and to embark in a cultural journey in the past.
In order to describe the goal, we first present a use case scenario. The scenario is seen from three different point of view according to three different potential roles of a citizen within our platforms: 1) Tourists, 2) Residents.
1) Citizen as a tourist:
Anne, living in Geneva, is visiting the city centre of Sion. When she organized her sightseeing itinerary at home, she searched the web in advance for information about the city. She browsed existing tools and web sites such as tripadvisor, social networks, etc. in order to gather some information about the city. After her arrival at the destination, she decided to have a walk in the city and discover its story and culture.
She is standing in front of the white facade of the town hall. She might be interested in a variety of questions regarding the building and the local environment:
● What building is this, when was it built?
● What was the role of this building 50 years / 200 years / 500 years ago (at any other date in the past); did something of interest happen at this place?
● What were the traditions, practices, folklore, etc. decades ago?
● Who is the architect of the building?
● How did the environment of the gate look 50 years / 200 years / 500 years ago (at any other date in the past)?
● Where are other city gates located?
● Where are highly rated hotels / restaurants in the neighbourhood? How can I get there?
● Where are other relevant sights located? How can I get there?
● Are there other similar gates in Sion / in other Swiss cities (similar in terms of the date they have been built, their architect, etc.)?
● Are there photos (e.g., from other perspectives or with different scenes in the foreground, etc.) of the gate on the web?
Anne holds a smart phone. But in order to get information along the lines of the questions above, she has to manually query different sources on the web (and she has to identify these sources first). For some questions, partial support already exists (e.g., spatio-temporal services from Google showing restaurants and hotels on a map), but in most cases, no existing and in particular no integrated solution can be consulted.
With the City-Zen platform, Anne will be able to directly browse and/or submit queries of different types
● Simple location and spatial queries: using the GPS coordinates of her current location, Anne will be able to identify the building she is currently looking at and get access to basic information regarding this building, combined from several data sources on the web. She will search for similar buildings (or buildings that take a similar role) in the vicinity of the current location – e.g., where are the other city gates of Sion located. This query type will also show other relevant information on a map like hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and their most relevant and most recent ratings.
● Temporal queries: on the basis of information from various sources that have been integrated beforehand into the City-Zen platform, Anne will be able to query details of the building’s history, if available together with photos from different stages of the building (in case it has been incrementally extended over the years). Moreover, she will also get information on the building’s environment at different points in time, and on historic events that took place there.
● Profile-based pushup notification: Anne may personalize the City-Zen platform by describing her interests and she may activate the “radar-mode” of City-Zen. This mode pushes notification to Anne whenever she is close to such a point of interest.
2) Citizen as a resident:
Patricia is a resident of Sion since 1954. She knows many anecdotes and stories about her city and she has a lot to tell about places, buildings, people, practices (such as the famous Sion carnival), etc. Patricia has also some inherited age-old objects and objects related to Sion traditions (her first drums when she was 10 years old). With the City-Zen platform, Patricia can be an actor in valorising the cultural and intangible heritage by participating in the knowledge sharing. Patricia can virtually situate her age-old objects on the map using the City-Zen platform and describe them with photos and texts. She can also propose a time slot where she would offer to a citizen (tourist or not) to pass by her house and have a look on these objects. The City-Zen platform offers Patricia the object linking service which, in a transparent way for her, links the objects she described to existing information related to that object. As an example, Patricia will be able to link the drum object to the concept of drums explaining that it is an instrument, giving details about its story, and she will also be able to link this object to the traditional art of drumming in the Sion carnival.
● Heterogeneous multimedia integration: Patricia can access the platform and choose the type of information she wants to share: she may upload an old photo, she could also write an anecdote, she may also upload a video, etc.
● Linked data integration: Patricia pushes the information related to her drums, and the City-Zen platform proposes her to link this description to the concept of drums and to the page web describing the traditions of the drums in Sion. Patricia can ignore this proposition or accept it. In the latter case, the object will be linked to other data already existing objects on the web.