Imagine if we could, through games, explore the preferences of European, Asian, Middle Eastern, North American and other visitors to our region and cater our tourist destinations (and direct our dollars) to meet those preferences.
We THINK we know what attracts tourists to our area, but how can we measure that objectively? How can we rank one destination over another? I propose we have tourists play games — online games. Apply game concepts to unearth the mindset of our potential visitors. Here I pilot a basic game called “ValleySeen”, the results of which can be used to evaluate what landscapes/streetscapes appeal to our visitors. Go ahead and play in my test area of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
ValleySeen applies the urban “StreetSeen” project, created by students at Ohio State University and used in the MOOC, Technicity, to explore gaming in a rural setting. StreetScene is based on the work of Open Plans Beautiful Street Project and MIT’s Media Lab Place Pulse Project .
This is how it works …
Display pairs of images that are randomly selected from a library of Google Street View images within an area. Pose a planning question. Have the player vote on the image that best suits the question. Tabulate and analyse the responses to rank users’ preferences and even generate ‘heat maps’.
I applied StreetSeen to look at Annapolis Royal through the eyes of a tourist. I wanted to know what tourists found attractive. I focused on Annapolis Royal as a test area. I randomly selected twenty Google Street View images and generated results in spreadsheet and map form. I ranked the preferred images based on the question asked, and analysed results.
My pilot was limited in scope: geography, number of images, analyses. In future, I propose adding the geographic source of respondents in the analyses.
Furthermore, I propose that gaming concepts be used to study our tourism and tourists to better develop destination plans for Nova Scotia.