We’re often told the world’s getting smaller every day with hardly anywhere left unexplored. Yet people tend to visit the same places year after year and travel publications write about the same places repeatedly.
I’ve been thinking about new ways to explore the world and one idea I came up with was Zombie Traveller, a way to make the world feel a bigger place again by suggesting the best, less-popular destinations. By harvesting information every week, Zombie Traveller will allow you to feel how suitable a destination is in much the same way you feel the weather. The data would power a suggestion engine, taking into account destination, current location and other preferences to suggest different, similar places to visit.
I’ve entered this idea in the Knight News Challenge. Here’s the full entry for Zombie Traveller. I’ve also been collected ideas around new approaches to travel on this Tumblr.
The link doesn’t work anymore so I’m adding the application here.
The theme is “networks,” meaning we’ll favor projects that find new ways to convey information and news by leveraging existing software and platforms.
What do you propose to do?
Build a travel data-collection and destination-suggestion engine which will provide a new way to explore the world.
Is anyone doing something like this now and how is your project different?
Travel companies, newspapers and review sites help to cluster people’s attention around particular destinations. This project aims to break the zombie curse and help people not to follow the crowd.
Describe the network with which you intend to build or work.
The data collection engine will look for information about a destination in various online sources including reviews on Tripadvisor, country visitor numbers, airport passenger numbers, column inches in major news publications.
The suggestion engine would use, with permission, information about the person from social networks such as Facebook, Foursquare, Tripit, etc. to adapt to his or her preferences.
Why will it work?
We’re often told the world’s getting smaller every day with hardly anywhere left unexplored. Yet people often visit the same places year after year and travel publications write about the same places over and over again. Zombie Traveller aims to make the world feel a bigger place again by suggesting the best, less popular destinations.
By harvesting information every week from various sources , Zombie Traveller would allow you to feel how popular a destination was in the same way you feel the weather. This data would power a suggestion engine, which would take into account your proposed destination, current location and other preferences to suggest different, similar places to visit.
Who is working on it?
Zombie Traveller’s founder is Robert Carroll. He has planned and executed big and small digital projects around the world for organisations such as the United Nations, The National and UBS.
He is working on this project with an academic mathematician from Bristol University to help with the statistical computations.
What part of the project have you already built?
The project is at a nascent stage, but we are currently working on:
- An index of destinations around the world tagged according to various pre-identified types of holiday or travel.
- Ways to present the data - colours, charts, etc. - which would allow people to feel what a destination was like in a glance.
- The data-collection engine to harvest the information.
- Ranking algorithms.
- Personalisation which would allow the suggestion engine to adapt to a person’s location, previously visited destinations and other travel preferences.
7. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires?
Once set up the system will run independently collecting and presenting data about destinations. As its popularity grows, it will evolve and adapt to make its recommendations even more accurate. Running costs would therefore be minimal.