Printed Travel Guides - (c) Michael Mueller Verlag
Task Ontology and Task Ontology Authoring Tool (TOAD)
Plaka area in Athens, Greece as "seen" by flickr images
iPhone & eBook Prototypes
Objectives & Results

The project has the following major achievements.


A Context aggregation module which captures the user’s contextual attributes was implemented. It does so using the following components:

  • An iPhone compatible “soft-GPS” Wireless Positioning component that enables the estimation of the current user’s position in both indoors and outdoors environments without any need for specialized hardware (i.e. GPS), internet connectivity or intervention of third-party carriers.
  • A wardriving server that captures information about the reachable WiFi networks and the current GPS position and offers it as an XML document upon request.
  • A GUI application for assisting users to create radio maps for indoors and outdoors scenarios.
  • A demo iPhone application which demonstrates the use of the Context Aggregator and displays current context on the device’s screen for both indoors and outdoors.

wireless positioning - iPhone interface

Task Computing

The Task Ontoloy Authoring Tool (TOAT) relies on a formal model that is used for describing the various tasks of the end-users in the context of TALOS. Examples of task scenarios regarding the use case of a mobile traveller have been created within TOAT based on actual surveys.

The interface and the functionalities of TOAT are based (a) on the results of actual surveys involving both expert and non-expert users, and (b) on the requirements defined by the SMEs.

TOAT has been implemented following the principles of the overall architecture of the TALOS system.

Task Ontology Editor

Content and Metadata

A content repository has been implemented that allows for efficient manipulation of content to provide it for whatever device and form necessary. This repository includes a content conversion methodology and database-based content repository.

A Web-based content manipulation interface for the repository provides the basic means for any content manipulation as well as metadata authoring including annotation of content with tasks. Specifically, the interface includes/consists of

  • A Browser-based interface implemented in Ruby-on-Rails and Javascript, provides for full-fledged text manipulation of the content stored in the re-pository, i.e., editing, adding and deleting of content while at the same time providing for rich-text formatting features.
  • A task annotation tool that allows for linking of content to tasks, i.e., creating a logical sequence of content, metadata to execute a given task.
  • a geocoding toolkit that allows for semi-automatic annotation of content with geospatial metadata (partially integrated with Web interface)
  • a Web scraping framework allows for the annotation of (static) content (as in book content) with dynamic Web content from the Web (not yet integrated with Web interface)

Web-based annotation tool

Beyond this effort, various open-source geospatial data sources have been explored, e.g., Muselia, ChefMoz, dbpedia, booking.com and been integrated as metadata sources in the Web-based content authoring tool.

In addition and based on feedback collected during the project, geospatial content creation tools were developed. The objective is to use massive amounts of user-contributed data of low accuracy as input, fuse this data and generate geospatial data of higher quality as output. The example shown, depicts the are of Plaka in Athens as extracted from geocoded flickr images. It is worth noting that no official record of this area exists and the developed method among other things establishes the bounds of this area.

crowdsourcing geospatial data


The above components and their outputs have been put together forming the TALOS system. The TALOS system has two output channels, which result in two prototypes, namely a task-aware travel guide, in an eBook form, and a mobile travel guide, designed for the Apple iPhone platform.

The first prototype is a portal Web site that allows travelers to buy or select a MMV travel guide of their choice. It allows the traveler to save additional content from the Web to his or her personal space, tag the additional content with relevant tasks and add the tagged content to the travel guide. The travel guide including additional content can then be downloaded as an eBook or used in the iPhone app.


The second prototype consists of a mobile travel guide for the iPhone platform. The mobile travel guide offers data extracted from the back-end server in various representations, through task-based interfaces. The fact that available content is organized around tasks, in combination with the exploitation of the user’s context leads to efficient and personalized content provision. The mobile travel guide includes four modes of operation, namely, the activities, eBook, map, and diary mode.

iPhone prototype