The official Fieldays app launches , four weeks out from the internationally acclaimed New Zealand National Fieldays event at Mystery Creek on June 13.
The new and improved free app has been developed specifically for use at Fieldays, and will enable visitors to use GPS mapping technology to better navigate the 114-hectare site and to plan their day in advance.
“We are really excited about the technology, which means visitors will have a much better search and site experience,” says New Zealand National Fieldays Society marketing and communications manager Taryn Storey. “People can download the app for free now, and begin to plan their visit and where they might go before they arrive.”
The app has been developed by GPS-it, a precision land mapping company based in the Bay of Plenty and supported by Fieldays Principal Partner, Vodafone. GPS-it has digitally mapped the entire Mystery Creek site, capturing key features and GPS points. “We made a digital GIS (geographic information system) plan of the Fieldays site using a combination of technologies,” says Paul Haakma, GIS software developer with GPS-it. “To do that we took multiple flights over the site with a plane to capture high resolution imagery and mapped GPS locations with survey grade equipment. Using this base data we were able to draw highly accurate site layout plans using world-leading GIS software.”
This means visitors can view a digital plan of the Fieldays site via the new app in the same way they might in Google Maps, with exhibitors, streets and key areas identified.
An important development this year is routing. Fieldays visitors will be able to use the app to find the best route from A to B. The app will provide people with directions and the shortest route from their current position to where they want to go to meet a friend or visit an exhibitor site.
“When you are walking around Fieldays, you can search the app and it will not only find where you want to go, but tell you the best route for walking there,” says Storey. “We know that people do a lot of walking at Fieldays, so we expect that this technology will be beneficial to visitors, and save time and sore feet.”
Storey says that the new Fieldays app can help people find the nearest coffee cart, food retailer or toilets, as well as key zones including Innovations Centre, Health and Wellbeing Hub, Careers and Education Hub and Kitchen Theatre. “It’s convenient and useful. If you want to meet a friend or find where an exhibitor is located, simply input the information into the app on your mobile phone and it will plan the shortest route.”
“I believe our new app will make the Fieldays experience better for people, and make it easier for everyone to get around the large Fieldays site at Mystery Creek.”
Previous versions of the App have been downloaded more than 30,000 times. “It was really well received and we are expecting an even bigger uptake this year,” says Storey. “Both urban and rural visitors are increasingly incorporating tech into their everyday lives, and we see the Fieldays app as an extension of the continued innovation in this area.”
Storey says feedback from users last year has led to improvement in this year’s design. “We hope we’ve ironed out any glitches,” says Storey. “In particular we’ve improved the key word search function, which some people had problems with last year.”
Popular features such as ‘pin my car’ will also be included in this year’s app. “The difference is, this year the app will create a route for you to follow back to your car,” says Storey.
People will also be able to ‘favourite’ exhibitors or sites, and use a timetable option in the app.
The mapping by GPS-it has also helped streamline the process of site construction for the hundreds of exhibitors setting up at Fieldays this year. “In the past people weren’t able to dig a hole on their site without getting it signed off personally by our site manager, in case they hit a cable,” says Storey. “That’s quite time-consuming when you have 2500 holes needing to be dug across the site. Now we have identified that through GPS, they can ring us up and we check on the map and can sign things off quickly over the phone.”
This year exhibitors have been able to purchase a weighted listing on the app, which means that their brand and site will appear first in a search for items in that category.
In the future, the New Zealand National Fieldays Society hopes the app will provide added value to exhibitors, with the opportunity to gather data about visitor behaviour in and around their sites. “The potential of the app for exhibitors is in gathering long-term metrics within privacy guidelines, include how many visitors walk past a site, or stop and visit, and how long they spend there. We’ll also be able to get a sense of how people are travelling around Mystery Creek, and which sites they are ‘favouriting’ in the app. These are things we believe will be invaluable to exhibitors. This data won’t be available this year but we are working on it for the future,” says Storey.
The app is available as a free download via the App Store or Google Play.