Traveler's Digital Handbook on the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is a transferable IT application for mobile devices.
The Danube Delta has always been a point of attraction on Romania’s travel map. And if until now the place could have posed certain risks for adventurous travelers roaming the place without a guide, now a mobile phone application, under the form of a digital handbook, has turned this marvelous delta into a place without secrets for tourists. The Traveler’s Digital Handbook on the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is a transferable IT application for mobile devices, which could serve as a genuine guide for tourists, providing useful information about the reserve, and which includes a positioning system that enables them to know their location at all times. Here is Cristian Dinu, co-founder of a company called Read Forward and one of the initiators of the project with more on the application.
“When they first open this application, visitors see a big menu with images and titles of the application’s major sections. We put the sections in the most relevant order, and grouped them into naval routes, land routes for trekking, a map of the Delta as well as a section containing travel information about the Delta. The idea came from the administration of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. They saw such applications in other countries and said that our delta must have one of its own. And we are proud that we made the most beautiful application, at least for the Danube region.”
Traveler’s Digital Handbook contains a map of the Delta, as well as information and details about the authorized naval and ground travel routes, the reserve’s strictly protected areas, its history and culture, travel tips, positioning, rules for visitors and photos of the main sites. It also includes a section called ‘emergency’ with essential information in case a tourist gets stranded or needs help. Here is Cristian Dinu again.
“The Danube Delta is a very interesting and diverse territory, where one can easily get stranded. So one needs a guide. There are many interesting sites and a lot of trekking routes but one should be aware of the fact that the Delta is a protected area, and there are many places there that cannot be visited in order to protect biodiversity. Having this application is as if you were carrying a guide of hundreds of pages with you, only not in your backpack, but on your tablet or mobile phone. Moreover, the application can be accessed without needing data transfer or a wireless connection. The only thing you need to do is download the application free of charge at home and it stays on your phone so you can use it while you’re in the Delta. This is particularly helpful for travelers from abroad who may bring their phones along and don’t have to pay huge roaming fees to connect. A complete map of the Danube Delta is available off-line anywhere, and it has a positioning system of its own.”
So you can choose between a local guide and this application. We have asked Cristian Dinu whether this application is better than a local guide.
“This application is basically a local guide, but with a lot more advantages. Apart from the local guide, which is included in the application, we have introduced several additional modules. I think the most important one is the location display. When you look at a map or a route, there is this blue dot flashing on the map, so you know, with an approximation of several meters, where you are. That’s how accurate it is. Therefore, this function enables customers not only to better plan their routes, but also, for instance, to use the emergency assistance module. And this does not necessarily involve severe medical emergencies alone, although this too, may happen. In case you get lost, you can view the coordinates with a half-meter accuracy, and send them to your host, your hotel or the authorities, who then may get you out of there.”
Both versions are easy to download from Google or Apple. You simply have to search for Danube Delta, and you find a bilingual application, in both English and Romanian, and you can switch at any time between the two.
Cristian Dinu told us what the steps were in creating the application:
“Before starting to design this app, we scared colleagues and the customer alike, we went to the Delta with no preparation whatsoever. We wanted to see what the situation was hands on, on our own skin, otherwise we could not create the app. We made a few observations which we included in the app, for instance location services for emergencies. We realized that we would be lost without a local, and that there are situations in which you don’t have the assistance of a local. You either dare too much and get lost, such as going alone on a boat ride, there are some situations in which you need to be located, and call for help. We included all this in the application.Then we saw that there is a boat timetable and, given that most tourists go to the Delta by boat, we included this information in the application, under the form of instructions helping people get to the area. This was a very useful experience for us. Then we wanted to check the application, we went to Tulcea again to make sure the application works properly. And it does. We followed the same paths and we were happy to see other people using the application. Our greatest joy was to see people downloading and using the application there and being very pleased with how well it works. Their only complaint was that we cannot hook fish for them too.”
Now that we know the story of the Danube Delta application, all we have to do is download it for free and use it when we get the chance.