Journal article Open Access

Use of Smartphone Cameras and Other Applications While Traveling to Sustain Outdoor Cultural Heritage

Ana Slavec; Nežka Sajinčič; Vesna Starman

Outdoor cultural heritage is exposed to several detrimental factors, so involving people in its care can greatly help in its preservation. We conducted four focus groups with participants recruited through a screening questionnaire to find ways of including travelers in a citizen science project by learning about how they interact with monuments through photography, travel apps, and location-based games, as well as their preferences regarding these apps. Since people can be apprehensive about installing new apps, we also verified the potential of games like Geocaching and Pokémon Go for cultural heritage conservation. We found that monuments appear as a photographic motif if they allow for interaction, are part of a photogenic scene or the visitor is attracted to their story. Some use travel apps to get additional information about the sights and discover hidden sites. Since cultural heritage is frequently part of the Pokémon Go and Geocaching gameplay, there is significant potential to use these apps, not only for tourism, but also for citizen science projects involving cultural heritage. While descriptive in nature, these findings provide useful insight into how to combine ubiquitous devices, smart tourism, consumer behavior, and cultural heritage protection for a more sustainable future.

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