The Digital Futures for Cities..

4 02 2013

Nestled between Geelong and Ballarat is the small rural municipality of Golden Plains. This small town is the link between three of the most popular tourism destinations in Victoria—Geelong, the Great Ocean Road and the Ballarat Goldfields.
The council wanted a way to make it easier for tourists to enjoy this region so they developed a Smartphone application.
The Smartphone application features an interactive map of Golden Plains, including helpful visitor information and landmark images designed to assist tourists in finding and enjoying the attractions. It also identifies important locations such as public toilets, food stops, petrol stations and eftpos facilities.
This technology enables people to access information about the Golden Plains anywhere, anytime from the convenience of a Smartphone, iPad or Android tablet. The initiative is a shining example of a progressive approach to economic development.
Historically, the Council has built and restored tourism infrastructure and co-located amenities, ranging from nature trails and parklands through to major tourist attractions such as the Golden Plains Farmers’ Market and Flagstaff Hill Lookout, in an effort to attract visitors to the region.
Council’s role is now to facilitate and collaborate with regional tourism bodies and neighbouring municipalities that have been integral to the successful market testing and deployment of the technology.
By having a sound project planning framework and involving the community at the earliest possible stages, the Golden Plains Smartphone application is a true reflection of the council’s innovative approach to infrastructure development. Importantly, the technology continues to create real value for local businesses and enhances the wider regional tourism industry.
Given the planned launch for free wifi in the central CBD, it begs the question; how difficult would it be to develop a similar application for the City of Mandurah? I think that question is worth exploring.
Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your views




One response

6 02 2013
Deidre In Interwebland

I agree that this sort of application is definitely worth exploring. What I also believe is that only a few years from now this sort of app will be as standard and commonplace as physical visitor/information centres are in every town and city. But these sorts of apps are only as good as the content they link to, just as the physical centres are only as good as their staff and the information they provide access to. I’m no tech expert but I suspect that creating the app would take far less time than creating quality content and ensuring it is kept relevant and up to date.

As well as the obvious content such as key tourism operator and basic facilities (toilets, ATMs etc), I’d love to see some of Mandurah’s more low-profile, no-cost, hidden gems included. By this I mean local knowledge of things like great spots to go for a springtime wildflower walk, nature walks that are pushchair or wheelchair friendly, family friendly fishing spots, best playgrounds or heritage trails.

I like to think that one of the greatest benefits of this sort of app would be that it would also help local residents to discover new things about their city, and therefore to use, take ownership of and treasure them.

BTW we were amazed on our recent trip through NZ at just how many public places had “free” wifi. It was so commonplace that it didn’t provide a point of difference anymore – in fact when we found a cultural precinct, waterfont or major facility that didn’t have it my daughter and I would joke “Oi, what sort of a rubbish, backward place is this?” Well done on promoting this for Mandurah.

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