Park authorities have the responsibility to manage the park’s natural resources, preserve the environmental conditions of the park’s areas, and ensure support and aid for the visitors.
A deep knowledge in a wide range of matters is required to carry out these tasks, whose execution implies a considerable effort and usage of resources.
In this regard, two considerations can be made:
- the effective management of natural resources require the use of advanced technologies
- the economic resources necessary to support the management process can be generated by exploiting the high tourist potential of the park
The fastest growing segment of the tourism industry, in fact, is nature travel and ecotourism, which are characterized by travel to natural areas to enjoy wildlife and outdoor oriented activities.
If these activities are an economic opportunity for protected areas administrators from one hand, from the other they require the availability of tourism management tools, with the capabilities of enhancing the commercial offer directed to the tourists, but also of ensuring their safety.
The N@VITour project is a feasibility study led by Planetek Italia in the context of the ARTES20 Integrated Application Program, promoted by the European Space Agency and dedicated to the development, implementation and pilot operations of Integrated Applications. These are applications of space systems that combine different types of satellites, such as Telecommunications, Earth Observation and Navigation, with the objective to support the evolution of customised solutions and the establishment of innovative space-based services based on industry skills and driven by user needs.
N@VITour project, by integrating the above mentioned satellite assets, aims to analyze the feasibility of a pre-operative service that allows:
- managing the resources of natural parks;
- supporting tourists during tours in natural parks.
The idea behind this project comes from the demands of some managers of natural parks, wishing to make use of advanced technologies for the management of the park in terms of classification and monitoring of habitat status and natural resources, as well as for providing services to tourists in terms of support to the visit and security.
The main user of this project is the Majella National Park, located in the Italian Abruzzo region, whose Management Board and Park Community are very active in the field of technological innovation devoted to preservation of the natural heritage and to the improvement of services for the visitors.
The N@VITour added value
N@VITour aims to be an integrated system with the capability to provide a set of functionalities derived from existing technologies and building-blocks, so its added value is the integration of the expertise of Planetek in the field of Earth Observation into a system, that includes also additional features (such as the Virtual Travel service and the safety service) in order to build an attractive package that is meant to open up new market opportunities that up to know cannot be served without an integrated software module comprehensive of navigation and telecommunication components.
A crucial role in the system will be played by the satellite assets involved:
- Navigation Technology for the implementation of position-based services, with the objective, also, to overcome the GPS precision level (inclusion of EGNOS correction in the perspective of integrating Galileo)
- Earth Observation for the production of thematic maps with the necessary features of interest for the park administrator (vegetation maps, land cover and infrastructure maps, soil sealing maps, also water quality maps as user base broadens)
- Satellite Communication to ensure access to the service for specific areas not covered by Wi-Fi or 3G/4G network