Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Friday, 12 November 2010
Bridging the rural digital divide in Borth and Ynyslas
The research project will last for 18 months

Borth and Ynyslas is the site of a new project that aims to develop digital services such as Google Maps used in urban settings for rural locations.

The £935,000 Bridging The Rural Divide initiative will allow locals and visitors to upload and download data about the area.

This information will then be accessed by people through mobile phones, on-line or on visitor centre diplays.

The 18-month programme includes local groups taking part in workshops.

Bridging the Rural Divide will result in an openly available set of tools to allow people to capture experiences, represent rural experiences and share them
Alan Chamberlain

Dr Alan Chamberlain of Nottingham University is part of a team of 12 researchers taking part.

"There is a huge amount of information available to people in urban areas so that when you walk down a street you can access a street map, find the nearest restaurant or the history of a building you are standing outside, " said Dr Chamberlain.

"This sort of information is just not available to people living in or visiting a rural area like Borth, so this is an attempt to bridge that gap."

Ynyslas sand dunes
Users will be able to provide routes of their favourite walks

Dr Chamberlain added that Borth and Ynyslas were chosen as the test bed for the project because of the variety of activities available to people in the area.

The research programme will try to enhance a broad range of activities that sustain the local economy - from walking and cycling to windsurfing and bird watching.

"We will work with local people and groups so they can use the latest technology to represent themselves by providing the information that will be useful to people visiting the village," said Dr Chamberlain.

The work will be done in collaboration between The University of Nottingham's Schools of Computer Science and Geography, Swansea University's Computer Science Department, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Ordnance Survey, and supported by the Horizon Digital Economy Hub at the University of Nottingham with core funding from the Research Councils UK Digital Economy Programme.

The team will work with the Countryside Council for Wales to promote a number of walks in the area.

Users will be able to sketch routes of their favourite pathways through the countryside.


These routes will be augmented by GPS data and community content relevant to different points on their route.

Tags and content can also be added to other users' routes, adding to the overall body of knowledge.

"We will also look at ways which will allow people to add their own photographs or films to the database which could enable people to download the walks and much more," said Dr Chamberlain.

The toolkit will also allow this content to be accessed and added to, via displays in visitor centres, on-line and via mobile phones.

Dr Chamberlain added: "Bridging the Rural Divide will result in an openly available set of tools to allow people to capture experiences, represent rural experiences and share them."

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