Experts Analyze Guide Apps Based on Open Data

24 june 2016

Moscow, Krasnodar, Saint Petersburg, Tula, and Perm are prepared for the tourist season: open data were used to develop apps that serve as virtual guides to these cities. The Analytical Center and the Infometr project center have analyzed the apps, assessing their functionality, accuracy, and relevance of the information they provide, ease of use, and ease of installation as well as other parameters and information quality criteria.

Each app has strengths and weaknesses, the experts note. For example, the Krasnodar guide app will certainly be of great help to people visiting the city but will hardly be of any use for the residents. In addition, this application requires intensive maintenance by the developers (or by the city administration that ordered it), constant updates and further refinement.

The Learn about Moscow tourism and navigation project allows its users to go on virtual tours to the most interesting places in Moscow, which they can then easily repeat in the real world. Users have access to texts penned by famous scholars of Moscow; they can pick a route for a stroll through The Old Town or even take part in the development of the project.

Visit St. Petersburg will help you find the nearest metro station, restaurant or a hotel in Russia’s Northern capital. It is also a great app for those that want to get to know the city better and learn about its history, or go on a fascinating tour through Saint Petersburg and see the most interesting bits. “Users complain that the app cannot be used without network access and that it will not even run offline. This significantly limits the use of the application,” the experts noted in their assessment. The developers did, however, take care of the visually challenged - the application allows you to use huge fonts.

The Culture Navigator is an app that contains information about 800 sights in Tula. It features a tour designer while the events section gives the user information about the time, place and program of various entertainment events in the city. The strengths of this app as noted by the experts include constant interaction between the developers and the users and quick responses to comments on the Android version. “And based on what is available in other apps of this kind, it would be nice to see more sights with an audio guide, an option to update the WP versions of the app, as well as viewing events on a map and to load patches to fix bugs,” the specialists point out.

The Guide to Perm app runs on Android and iOS and offers support for Russian and English on both platforms. An offline version is available (46 MB required to start) that can be used offline. However, the experts found some bugs in the app as well as problems with usability so it was only rated as ‘satisfactory.’

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