In the Green Pilgrimage project Region Östergötland has digitalised a pilgrimtrail from Ödeshög to Vadstena to create a model for a digital pilgrimtrail.
Vadstena has a mediaeval heritage as a pilgrimage site. During the reformation in the 16th century pilgrimage was abandoned. In the 1990-ies the tradition started again both in the catholic but foremost in a Lutheran form. Trails were opened, partly connected with the mediaeval routes.
The new tradition has so far, to a large extent been a church business but when the interest grows, logistics must be formed to match more people. That includes pilgrims that are beginners who need more help. At the same time an increase in numbers will stretch the resources of the pilgrim organisation when it comes to take care of the pilgrims and maintain the trail.
The solution was to develop a digital help for the pilgrims, with maps containing info points and a general information. The infopoints contains info of normal logistics, where to eat, sleep, find fresh water, paperbins, toilets etc. and info about coultural and natural heritage along the way. It also contains spiritual logisitics, how to be a pilgrim, prayers, services and a community to share your thoughts and experiences with other pilgrims. The work was done in close connection with a software producer.
There is quite many semi digitalized trails, but noone fully digitalized with good maps, and no one wich targets pilgrims, especially new pilgrims. The idea was that this trail could be a model for other trails.
Working with translation to english is underway, final version will be posted to public use in march 2019
The resources needed is working hours to track the trail and add info points. Good knowledge of what pilgrimage is and good knowledge of the area in form of natural- and cultural values.
A possibility to work together, pilgrim and software producer.
Evidence of success
The initial mapping tool was due to its success integrated in the regional offer – the digital map of Östgötaleden (www.ostgotaleden.se).
By collaborating with the organization responsible for the walking trail instead of maintaining a digital map of our own, we reach a larger target group making it beneficial both in terms of strategy and in terms of resources. The regional map includes all the facilities and cultural-historic points of interests that are of value for the pilgrim trail.
There is a lot of digital or semi-digital trails. Most of them use freeware maps, such as Google-maps. In a forest terrain that is not good enough. A better map is needed.
It is hard to overlook the potential with digitalisation if you don’t work with it on a regular basis. On the other hand, soft
Potential for learning or transfer
Although it is a digitalized trail, it is necessary to have boots on the ground. It is necessary to walk the trial in order to track the trail on to the map and, not to forget, everything is not on existing maps. There are lots of things you might want to mark on your digital map, dry closets, paper bins, alternative routes, nice places for prayer etc.
It’s crucial to work close together, pilgrims or hikers and software producers to get a functional product.
The digitalised track must correlate to the idea with the trail, in this case a pilgrim trail. The brand of the pilgrim trail must be evident in the digitalised trail.
An important learning point is that a digital trail, at least in woodland, is not a substitute for a marked trail. The physical marking is still necessary, especially for unexperienced pilgrims.
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