Tara, G! Your personal tour guide for your every G moment!
It’s more fun in the Philippines! The catchy slogan of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in 2012 has made the entire world curious about a small developing country until today. Highlighting world-renowned landmarks, festive celebrations, and exciting activities, the DOT showed everyone that our country is worth a visit.
However, despite making a global buzz, the rich cultural heritage of these well-known locations and festivals are not properly conveyed to both foreign and local tourists. More so, the campaign only showcased internationally recognized tourist spots in the country - leaving behind those in rural areas. With this, Tara, G! aims to become a platform that showcases the Philippines not only as beautiful and fun but also as a country filled with stories and meaning.
SOLUTION AND USE CASE
Tara, G! is a mobile application that would act as the user’s tour guide wherein the app would display facts, historical background, and other unique details about the user’s current location. The application would not be limited to famous destinations as we aim to incorporate as many rural and local tourist spots as possible through GNSS technology. Specifically, Tara, G! aims to provide services for the following scenarios:
- When an individual arrives at or passes through a tourist attraction, Tara, G! would trigger a notification containing an interesting fact about the place. Clicking on the push notification would redirect the user to the location’s page on the application which shows various information such as historical background, facts, photos, and more. Upon clicking, the user has the option to enable the audio tour guide feature which would read through the page, letting the user have the best tour-like experience
- When an individual would like to know if there are nearby tourist spots in their vicinity, the map feature of Tara, G! - enabled through GNSS technology - will show various markers on the map indicating different types of landmarks and tourist attractions within the specified radius. Clicking on a pin would pop up the name, photos, and short description of the location.
- When an individual would like to find tourist spots in a different location, the search feature of Tara, G! will provide recommendations based on the keywords entered. The feature would also allow users to select a category for the landmarks and attractions that would act as a filter for the search results.
With GNSS’ high accuracy rate, Tara, G! would be able to trigger notifications more precisely and timely. More so, the application would be a better and cheaper option than the traditional in-person tour guide since the user does not need to follow a strict schedule and a specific list of tourist spots. With Tara, G!, the user has the capability to enable the tour guide feature for landmarks based on their preferences. Furthermore, the application is not a one-time experience as it can be accessed for every travel.
USE OF GNSS
Functionalities offered by Tara, G! mainly include tracking the user’s location in relation to tourist spots, audio and textual presentation of location details, and searching for landmarks in the vicinity. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals will be used to monitor the location of the user. This can be done by identifying the distance of the user/receiver and the multiple satellites orbiting the earth. GNSS will also be useful in knowing the positions of the landmarks and tourist spots in the Philippines. Through GNSS, the application can accurately and timely notify the user if they have entered an area that has a landmark or if they are within a certain radius of a tourist attraction.
Furthermore, the technology would be used in displaying a map with multiple markers indicating different types of landmarks within a specified geofence. This feature would enable the user to identify nearby attractions in their area or when searching in other locations. More so, the information gathered from GNSS would be used to cross-check sources of the location’s details. This means that the application would first verify the information provided by the third-party source through comparison with the details from the technology.
SPECIFIC USE OF GALILEO
Tara, G! intends to implement the following Galileo differentiators:
- Open Service (OS)
Tara, G! will be using the Galileo Open Service to integrate and set up a free, open locating and timing service. Specifically, the Galileo OS Ranging Service and Galileo OS Positioning Service would be incorporated into the application. The app would utilize the ranging service to estimate when the user has entered an area with a landmark or is within a particular distance of a tourist destination. Consequently, the positioning service would be used to estimate the location of the user.
- High Accuracy Service (HAS)
The High Accuracy Service would be used complementary to Galileo Open Service such that it would improve the accuracy of the estimations of the latter service. HAS would increase the user experience of our application as displayed markers on the map and sent notifications are more precise.
- Open Service Navigation Message Authentication (OSNMA)
Spoofing and jamming of services, such as GNSS, are becoming rampant. An attack on such crucial services can lead to a partial or total interruption of the GNSS, potentially rendering them unavailable. As Tara, G! continues to develop, it must consider having a solution to prevent the risk of GNSS spoofing incidents. Thus, OSNMA would be integrated into the later phases of development for Tara, G! wherein the security and verification of the user’s location would be prioritized. The service would be implemented to ensure that the notifications for certain landmarks and tourist spots are in line with the actual location of the user.
Tara, G! is a mobile application that aims to specifically target the domestic and international tourists of the Philippines. Specifically, the application is recommended for backpackers, adventure travelers, road trippers, and groupies. These types of travelers are considered as the spontaneous kind that intends to learn more about their destinations and are always on the go for adventure.
Before the pandemic, in 2019, the number of foreign tourists arriving into the country was approximately 8.6 million . As for domestic tourism, in 2018, the number of domestic trips amounted to 111.4 thousand . The application, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and Local Government Units, intends to provide service to at least 30% of the total travelers in the country which is approximately 3 million users.
Furthermore, Tara, G! is estimated to have a product cost of $30. The cost would include expenditures for artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and audio conversion. With the intention of having 3 million users, the application is expected to have a total addressable market (TAM) of $120M. This TAM could greatly increase once a partnership with the Department of Tourism is established since it would be endorsed to a greater audience.
In the Philippines, there is no well-known mobile application for audio tour guides. Most developed applications contain a predefined list of tourist attractions in their audio which primarily concentrates on well-known and established cities. Furthermore, an in-person tour guide must adhere to a specific schedule and a limited list of tourist spots and landmarks that may not be aligned with the tourist’s preferences.
Tara, G!, in comparison to both types of tour guides, is a better and less expensive option because of its wide-range set of tourist spots, and reusability for unlimited tours. More so, the application provides more information about rural areas, emphasizing their culture and history. Not only would the application showcase the wonders of the country, but also the rich heritage it contains.
Furthermore, Tara, G! could become the new campaign strategy of the Department of Tourism. Endorsing a portable tour guide for the Philippines is a big advancement for our tourism sector as it could engage more local and foreign tourists to take a different view of the country. Similarly, aside from building and establishing the names of the destinations in a rural area, Tara, G! could also be a medium to promote the local businesses around the vicinity of the destinations.
The first step of the development of the mobile application is to implement GNSS. It will be used in identifying the locations of different landmarks and tourist spots in the Philippines. It will also be used in monitoring the user’s location. Once GNSS is established, the program will have an algorithm that will detect if the user is near the radius of a certain landmark and notify the user about the location.
The user interface of Tara, G! would be developed using Flutter since the toolkit is open-source and uses a single codebase for both Android and Apple operating systems. In retrieving landmark and tourist spot details, the Google Search API under SerpApi would be implemented such that the artificial intelligence built by the team would determine the appropriate descriptions. Google Images API, a branch of the former API, would also be utilized in order to retrieve photos of the attractions presented in the application.
PROOF OF CONCEPT
The attached photo is a mockup of Tara, G! wherein the first layout displays the push notification triggered by the application which consists of trivia about the location. The second layout is the location page which consists of photos and a description as well as an audio button for the tour guide feature. The last layout shows the map feature of the application indicating various markers for tourist spots.
Tara, G! is proposed by five brilliant, diverse, and talented individuals aiming to conquer the digital world. The team for this project includes five 4th year students from the University of the Philippines Visayas namely:
- Patricia Marie C. Garcia is the leader/coordinator of the team. She is also responsible for database management and other backend operations.
- Renzel E. Buatag does research and makes sure that tasks are done accordingly. She is also one of the front-end developers of the team.
- John A. Honeyman is the all-rounder member of the team. His tasks are composed of both backend and frontend development.
- Aron Miles B. Samson is the technical manager and main backend developer of the group. He ensures that the application delivers the features flawlessly.
- Mace Matthew Mirasol is the main artist of the group. He makes the calls for the design and UI/UX of the application.
 Statista Research Department, “Philippines: Number of domestic tourism trips,” Statista, 21-Jun-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1156104/philippines-number-of-domestic-tourism-trips/. [Accessed: 13-Nov-2021].
 Statista Research Department, “Philippines: Foreign tourist arrivals 2020,” Statista, 01-Nov-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1053908/philippines-number-of-foreign-visitor-tourist-arrivals/. [Accessed: 13-Nov-2021].