Researchers explore ‘maths of virtual travel’ to revive tourism

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on September 09, 2020 Published on September 09, 2020

Data science is being harnessed to improve on television and internet-based ‘tourism experiences’

Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University have submitted a new proposal to make virtual travel more realistic.

The proposal details advanced mathematical techniques to make virtual tours of travel hotspots more realistic. This could pose new opportunities for players and help revive the tourism industry, according to an official release.

The technology

In a proposal published in Cell Patterns, Arni SR Srinivasa Rao, a mathematical modeller and director of the medical school’s Laboratory for Theory and Mathematical Modeling, and co-author Steven Krantz, a professor of mathematics and statistics at Washington University, suggest using data science to improve on existing television and internet-based tourism experiences.

The technique involves “measuring and then digitising the curvatures and angles of objects and the distances between them using drone footage, photos and videos, and could make virtual travel experiences more realistic for viewers and help revitalise the tourism industry.”

The proposed technology has been termed as Live Streaming with Actual Proportionality of Objects (LAPO).

“This is about having a new kind of technology that uses advanced mathematical techniques to turn digitised data, captured live at a tourist site, into more realistic photos and videos with more of a feel for the location than you would get watching a movie or documentary,” said Rao.

Execution within tourism industry

The authors believe that such experiences could help mediate the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism industry. Countries across the globe have imposed various restrictions on international travel owing to the pandemic.

In such times, virtual travel could pose a monetary opportunity for the industry, the authors suggest. Virtual travel can prove to be more cost-effective and accessible during such times.

“Virtual tourism (also) creates new employment opportunities for virtual tour guides, interpreters, drone pilots, videographers and photographers, as well as those building the new equipment for virtual tourism,” the authors wrote.

“People would pay for these experiences like they pay airlines, hotels and tourist spots during regular travel,” Rao said. “The payments could go to each individual involved in creating the experience or to a company that creates the entire trip, for example.”

The researchers are looking for investors and partners in the hospitality and tourism industry.

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Published on September 09, 2020
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