Recording and analyzing the requirements of the Xenios’ end users has been a top priority driving the design and implementation of the system from the beginning. This analysis contributed in:
- determining the necessary services and the content of the final applications, as well as their specifications (spatial accuracy, timeliness, etc.);
- the definition of data specifications (satellite, meteorological, other spatial data, descriptive statistics) to meet the above requirements;
- the conceptual design of the platform.
Questionnaires were designed to determine the Xenios users’ needs that were filled in by the end users of the Xenios system (web platform and mobile app) and subsequently analyzed. The questionnaires were processed anonymously and respecting the privacy of the respondents, in full compliance with the restrictions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR — Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016).
Xenios’ end users were categorized into the following groups and a separate questionnaire was designed for each group:
- Cultural and touristic site stakeholders (representatives with high level of operation-al experience from operators and managers of cultural and touristic places, as well as civil protection departments):
- Site managers (users of the Xenios central platform) who manage sites similar to those of the project’s pilot areas. These users are provisioned with all available information related to natural hazards (risk indicators, dispersion of visitors within the site, etc.) through the central web platform of Xenios, which will be installed on a personal computer in their workplace.
- First responders / field operators: People working in sites of cultural and archaeological interest (security guards, guides, security personnel, etc.). Users in this category will receive instructions from the site manager(s) and report back any significant information from the field.
- The visitors of the site of cultural / archaeological interest. Users of this category will only have access to the Xenios mobile app, through which they will receive tourist information and—conditionally—risk alerts issued from the site manager.
The results of the Xenios system’s evaluation were very encouraging, as all its services were found to be interesting and useful. It is worth noting that when asked if the organization would be willing to allocate some money for the supply of such a platform, the answers collected were negative by one third, positive by one third and the remaining third were conditionally positive. The justifications for the negative responses were that such a platform should be free of charge, as the funding of most public organizations is very restricted and it would be extremely difficult to finance such a service.
Responses of the site manager user category (users of the Xenios central platform) to the most important questions of the questionnaire
The personnel of the tourist sites (first responders / field operators) reported the main difficulties encountered in their working environment, which are the visitors’ entry control, the issuance and validation of tickets, as well as the visitors’ access to unauthorized zones. Also, the role of the staff in case of emergency is to notify the authorities and try to safely evacuate the visitors from the site.
The issues related to the safety and protection of visitors that the field operators consider should be addressed are—in order of priority—always knowing the dispersion of visitors within the site, the evacuation of the site in case of emergency, knowing the most appropriate process to evacuate the visitors from the area, procession of dedicated firefighting means, the communication with the site managers/control center (sending reports / receiving instructions) and the guidance of visitors into safety.
The personnel of the tourist sites also reported that they need more training on visitor safety and site protection. They also believe that a system like Xenios would significantly increase the safety of the visitors and staff and could help increase its visibility and the number of visitors.
Finally, the visitors of the sites characterized as very interesting and useful the services of Xenios related to the safety of the visitors and the promotion of the site’s points of interest. When asked if they would install a dedicated mobile app for the site they are visiting, the majority responded positively. Nevertheless, more than half disagreed with the app maintaining the history of the route they are following and were only willing to provide access rights to their current location via GPS. Finally, when being asked if they would be willing to pay a fee to get a mobile app for the area they are visiting, the vast majority replied negatively.
Responses of the site visitor user category to the most important questions of the questionnaire.