Research - 25.10.2012 - 00:00 

Safe hiking with an outdoor app

Leisure activities in natural surroundings should remain attractive for older people. The IWI-HSG develops an application for mobile phones to ensure that people will not get lost and remain safe.


29 October 2012. Many older people give up leisure activities in natural surroundings because they are afraid of accidents or of getting lost. The joint European project DOSSy (Digital Outdoor and Safety System) aims to remove this obstacle with the help of a mobile telephone application. Navigation, location and safety functions will help older people to continue to enjoy moving about outdoors on their own.

Hiking guide and helper in time of need
The application is intended to include a hiking guide and intelligent navigation aids, which will help people select suitable routes. During the tour, the GPS will provide people with their bearings. To enhance safety, the app will also include a tracking system to locate users in cases of emergency. Notifications will be triggered manually or upon request, automatically. The mobile telephone application is also intended to be weather-sensitive and inform hikers and the emergency call centres about unfavourable weather conditions.

The Institute of Information Management at the HSG combines various modern technologies for the development of the new service. The six project partners include GPS app developer Augmentra, the emergency call and service centre Curena, the guidebook publishers Bergverlag Rother, the German Red Cross Herten, the Swiss Alpine Club and the St.Gallen University of Applied Sciences. The European Commission funds the projects with EUR 734,000. The Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme is intended to enhance older people’s quality of life with new services. The development project has a timeframe of 24 months and a budget totalling EUR 1.6m.

Technologies for safe mountain experiences
ViewRanger is used worldwide for navigation and location purposes by outdoor enthusiasts and international search and rescue services. ViewRanger is therefore also the software platform on whose basis DOSSy will be implemented. Curena, an operator of an emergency call and service centre, is a specialist in the management of emergency situations. Bergverlag Rother contributes its expertise in the field of hiking guides and outdoor literature. Experience in the field of mountain rescue is provided by the Swiss Alpine Club and the German Red Cross Herten.

Bild: Photocase / Schoky

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