A new way to enjoy Hamilton Gardens

16 December 2016

Hamilton Gardens for web.jpg

A new app developed at the University of Waikato provides information to visitors at Hamilton Gardens.

The million people who visit Hamilton Gardens each year now have an app available to help them get around Hamilton’s number one tourist destination.

The University of Waikato has worked with Hamilton Gardens staff to develop the Android app that provides information about the history and design of the themed gardens.

The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store. It’s the work of staff from the Faculty of Computer Science, led by Associate Professor Annika Hinze.

“I’ve done a lot of work around location-based app systems and it’s great to develop one for something that’s so popular,” Dr Hinze says. She created the app based on a framework she’s been researching and developing for a number of years.

The app contains images and text and is triggered as users move into the different garden spaces. When users enter a themed garden the app notifies them that information on the garden is available through an audio signal, and visitors can either read the information on their phones or listen to an audio version.

Business Development Manager at Hamilton Gardens Malcolm Hazelton says he’s excited to make the app available.

“We tell the story of the history, meaning and context of gardens throughout time and interpretation is such an important part of the gardens. I see the app being used by tourists and local visitors alike.”

Mr Hazelton sees the current offer as a starting point in the collaboration with the university. “The potential for features within the app to support our unique concept is unlimited. As new gardens are opened we have the opportunity to tell their story too.  An example of this is our new playground set in a magical children’s garden. We’ll be developing a trail where children discover the ‘secret’ of Hamilton Gardens based on pictures on oversized play blocks located on the maze in front of the Jade Dragon theatre.”

An iOS app is under development and Dr Hinze says the next logical step would be to be able to listen to the commentary in other languages.