Mobile Meadowlands Environmental Guide

Partially funded by NJMC (2005-2006)

Prototype: Mobile Bird Inforamtion System

The NJMC staff use wireless devices to collect data as they move around the District. Similarly, visitors, scientists, students and eco-tourists also move around on their own collecting scientific data, or just walk around looking at birds and taking pictures. Visitors to the District have also the possibility of taking a Commission guided tour of the Hackensack River where a guide points out the interesting aspects of the immediate landscape and wildlife. 

This project is building a mobile communication infrastructure to enable an auto-guided environmental tour using the Internet and hand-held devices.  This application will allow visitors to move around with a hand-held devise (maybe a cell phone or PDA) and historical and current information available for that specific location is delivered to them.

The information type will be adjusted according to the user's preferences; for example, a bird watcher may only be interested in bird types, their habits and the quality of the surrounding environment. A planner on the other hand, would be more interested in the historical land use data for a particular location and would want to see historical aerial photography or historical blue-prints of planned structures. 

 As in a museum audio-guide system, the relevant information is identified and streamed based on the person's location, preference and expertise. Unlike the museum audio-guided tour however, the information is not restricted to audio but will also include multimedia, images/pictures, maps and textual narratives. In addition, through what is called a "location-specific environmental information blogging"; users can interactively enter new data from a location into the system for the future sharing of information. The system will also support data "pull", allowing queries by users of different levels and expertise.

The benefits include:

  • Researchers and engineers in the field will have background information for any location in the District they may visit.

  • Bird-watchers and tourists may roam around freely with District wildlife information and maps readily available to them.

  • With many users entering their blogs, more and diverse information will be available for the District.

  • The system also supports a virtual tour: i.e., even if a person is not physically present, by entering coordinates and clicking on a certain location on a map on their workstation, he/she should be able to receive the same as if he is physically present.