By Maria Kotlida, Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports – General Secretariat for Culture
The Hellenic Cultural Guide is an ambitious and innovative project that has been developed by the Directorate of Informatics and Telecommunications of the General Secretariat for Culture of the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports (formerly Hellenic Ministry of Culture) and it replaces the already existing Hellenic Cultural Map.
The Cultural Guide offers to the user the opportunity to navigate through the map of Greece, explore the area of his interest and discover museums, monuments and archaeological sites. The guide’s multiple functions allow the user to view and collect cultural and administrative information in all the country prefectures.
The user can access the Cultural Guide via the Hellenic national cultural portal “Odysseus” (http://odysseus.culture.gr), either through web browsers or mobile browsers.
Additionally, in selected museums (e.g National Archaeological Museum) the visitor has the opportunity to access the Cultural Guide through touch screens. The respective links are the followings: http://odysseus.culture.gr/a/map/emap.jsp for access from web browser and http://odysseus.culture.gr from mobile browsers, where the portal “Odysseus” is adjusted for mobile devices.
In all ways of access the content is bilingual, both in Greek and English. For the user’s convenience, search filters are available such us “type”, “visitor groups”, “eras” and “services”.
For the application’s development Google Maps Api and jQuery Mobile were used. The retrieval of the data is achieved through the Oracle data base of portal “Odysseus”. It should be mentioned that the Cultural Guide has been developed in a way that the operability with other applications is feasible.
For further development of the Cultural Guide the upgrade of portal “Odysseus” is prerequisite. Until now 2000 records have been entered, and at least another 1500 will be entered soon. Also, the “types” will be enriched so as to include not only museums, monuments and archaeological sites.
Map’s enrichment is also designed, in order to include more information such as accommodation, public transportation and traditional products.
As regards the Guide’s feasibilities, the user will be able to create his own touristic routes in one area of his choice. From the upgraded cultural guide, it will be possible for the user to add the sights of his interest in a directory or directly on a specific day of his visit. With drag’n'drop, it will be possible to change the number of visits on the same day or between days. The results will be visible on the map. Suggested tours of different length, will be available to the user with the option of being modified by him.
Additionally, the application will be able to follow the progress of the created or selected tour using the gps of the mobile and it will suggest the next visit, providing directions and relevant cultural information. The application will, also, control the progress of the route, warning for possible delays.
For the dynamic development of the Hellenic Cultural guide, the opinion and the requirements of the users will be considered and it will be achieved by creating a users’ forum open for any relevant comments to the guide.
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