Wanderast Moving Forward in 2019

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As of July 2018, Wanderast became officially my side-project and Wanderast is self-funded. I have added a push notification ads that does not intervene with your reading but it does not turn any money to make it every month.

That is why next year, I am planning putting Wanderast as more of a self-funded project that really helps fellow travelers, local communities and the tourism economy itself.

In the last few months, I have added places around the Philippines starting from Ilocos region then Cagayan region and then went into extracting data from Wikipedia about the municipalities and their local attractions. But this is not yet enough to help people to know more about Philippines that is why I want to build a simple planning feature for traveling.

I do not want to plan and build without any problem-oriented goals to solve in 2019. I am focusing on these three problems that is related to tourism:

  • Ecological problem caused by social media hype and allowing unregulated businesses.
  • Climate change has a direct effect on the Philippines because of recent typhoons and floods.
  • Lack of local community development is present in remote communities due to lack of infrastructure and information about the place.

If you are watching news, the recent closure of Boracay island by the national government has struck a blow of zero-revenue 6 months in their tourism-focused economy. This is due to ecological damage on the waters surrounding its famous white sand beach. It has reopened on the last week of October and it started regulating businesses to implement tourism control measures to prevent overcrowding and environmental damage. This kind of problem is a very interesting challenge to solve using information technology.

Climate change brought us more stronger typhoons that slams the Pacific coast of the Philippines. The recent memory is typhoon Haiyan that has destroyed lives, homes, forest and the economy within a single day in Eastern Visayas. We cannot prevent natural calamities but we can help save lives and preserve our natural environment. This is why I think, Wanderast would love to tackle the climate change problem with relation to tourism next year. I would love to see where I go, what I can do to help and provide answers to our questions through factual dialogues and intelligent conversations.

Lastly, I want to tackle the issue with unsustainable tourism that has left communities in specific areas poor and relatively undeveloped. Local transportation is abysmal due to lack of trains and proper roads. Remote communities are quite hard to reach despite years of infrastructure development due to the high level of corruption that has spread throughout the years. Their source of income has vary solely in agricultural products while ideas and technological advances were still out of their reach.

I believe in the idea of public data space where the level of transparency and openness could lead to substantial development across local communities with tourism by opening it to various committed individuals.

With this new perception of the horizon, I am ready to build something that would help solve these three problems. The three main problems does not only affect Philippines but it is also apparent in other countries as well. Growing population is still a concern and the food supply is diminishing as well.

Promote sustainable and responsible travel

Starting 2019, I will write short essays to promote sustainable and responsible travel. I have not yet continued this since my first essay about travel is a social responsibility. I would love to continue this as a series of essays talking about how we can improve tourism. I do not want to be a main voice of criticism but provide a set of solutions as well.

Also, I want to add more data points in the places about the beaches, islands mountains, waterfalls, museums, churches, landmarks and cultural properties that are important to the identity of the Philippines. On those data points, I want to add vital information for travelers about the community that they are visiting, the recommended local attractions and the cost of staying for a few days.

These two points would help local community development and to spread tourism to new other areas.

Help travel estimation and decision making

I am still on the stages of making the right specifications for building a travel planing feature on Wanderast.

Before, I use to write my travel notes on Evernote which is pretty convenient app for note taking but it is not the best way to build a checklist, create your itinerary or help you compute your costs. All is done manually in the background and everything is just written in the afterthought.

This problem may seem trivial for a solo traveler, but managing it for a group would be a bit tad crazy because not everyone has the same budget and means as the others.

I have not tried how the other apps work but I wanted to build my own ideal travel planning feature that helps me create my itinerary and choose based on the available information I have based on what other knows. It is an essential part of the platform.

So what I want to see in travel planning feature is to let users to create their travel plan based on the data points available on Wanderast such as basic information like the actual location, weather condition, transportation and movement costs, living expenses and crowd patterns. This would help decision making for groups coming through a site, what time would be the best or are there any alternatives that would make sense to visit.

It is still a plan but a noteworthy and a challenge in the upcoming year.

Keeping up with climate and geographical changes

I want to create an alert system or more of a notification system for each place to help travel awareness of the climate and geographical changes to locations that are hampered by climate change, soil erosion, calamities and other .

This may seem simple but it is more complex from the looks of it.

Weather and climate platforms exists for a very long time funded by national governments and it is one of the basic knowledge to know when you are traveling to a foreign place. However, understanding patterns is one of the most difficult piece of the puzzle to solve. Although most of the problems are solve through the help of satelite imagery, forecasting algorithms and new data collection methods, we are yet to fully utilize such methods in predicting outcomes that could help us save the environment, urban zoning decisions, building infrastructures and understanding the annual changes in seasons.

I believe this is the hardest problem that I will solve within Wanderast but this is also one of the fundamental challenges of humanity and it will forever shape on how we live and travel.

There may be a lot of ways to help solve this but I want to start from the beginning by informing the public, collecting information and create new ways to promote sustainability in our lives.

I hope I can provide a concrete plan to address this growing problem of eventual shift of our climate and save our planet from the brink of destruction.

Final Notes

As I work towards future hopefully I will build a platform for the common good of the environment, for the local communities and for the people believing in it. Wanderast in 2019 will not be anymore about travel alone, I hope that it may become a pillar in a sustainable world and beyond.

If you are interested on reading my personal blog, you can find me on u/onezeronine.

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Wanderast Thoughts@wanderastthoughts

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