Parque Rodó

Augmented reality for parks

The Parque Rodó application is a virtual tour guide for one of Montevideo’s oldest and most visited parks. The city government wanted to convert Rodó Park into an open-air museum that is free and accessible for all. Therefore, they needed a mobile application that could be easily downloaded and used by all visitors.

Requirements

Beacon technology

Beacons are transmitters that use Bluetooth technology to send signals to nearby smart devices. Beacons were attached to monuments in the park to connect with the app. This way, the app can provide experiences based on the user’s location in the park.

Augmented Reality

As users navigate around the park, they can see their location and points of interest on the app’s map. When they get close to an interactive feature, an icon begins to pulse. At these features users can activate a light show. This is accompanied by an audio guide on the app that tells the story of the particular area in “scenes,” following the position of the lights.

Cross platform mobile app

Since the app is aimed at tourists, it was important that it be available on both iOS and Android. The city administration wanted to work with Ionic as their choice of cross-platform framework, to be consistent with their other apps for the city.

Fun Fact

The city government commissioned the application as part of a series of initiatives to make a “smart” city, and to better the park itself. Others include a GPS-based bus app, numerous free WIFI connection points in public spaces throughout the city, and web applications to streamline many government processes.

Result

BACK OFFICE CONTROL: We built an admin panel that allows the client to see metrics, register new beacons, configure light shows and adjust the sunset hour (as the light shows can only be activated at night.)

VALUABLE METRICS: Metrics tracked include the number of daily users, duration of app use and percentage of completion for those listening to the audio guides. This helps the client know where to improve the app in future versions.

COMPATIBILITY TESTING: The mobile framework Ionic provides many plugins to integrate audio and visual components, but we found they often have compatibility issues. We had to make customizations to the plugins and do thorough testing to ensure the app was fully functional on all devices.

JSON TEXT FILES: We created files in JSON to make it possible for the client to change the app’s text, such as descriptions for buttons. This was a cost effective solution to give the client control over the text and not be reliant on developers to make changes.

MULTIPLE LANGUAGES: The app is available in Spanish, English, Portuguese and sign language.

 

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