The term geospatial in the Anglo-Saxon world – but also in the scientific and technical Italian elite – is slowly replacing the word Gis, acronym of Geographic Information System. Geospatial is interpreted as a synonym of geographical notions, in a system that can include more than two dimensions, normally represented by the latitude and the longitude, introducing geographical information in a landmark that could be developed in three, or, by now, also in four dimensions. The simplest examples are the google maps, which in the classical plane dimension of the chart sheet have put together the three-dimensional place with a fourth dimension time-slider. The impact of geospatial technology in our daily life has become rather relevant, showing itself as a global reference overview in our environment. The impact of all the innovations that form the Geospatial technology is increasing in our lives. It reached such a relevance to become a key point in our environment. This is particularly recognizable in urban envirornment, as it allow us in using Location Based Sevices technologies, which are able to transform every georeferenced object in a smart object, inserting it in a network of objects through position relationship among which the objects in the network transmit data and information each other. The common use of these networks of objects in our urban environment, could represent the structural network of the Smart Cities. When we use mobile devices in our trips, or when we share our feelings or other personal information on Social Network such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, we communicate also our geografical position (if we allowed it in our privacy agreement). Many of the services offered by search engines, using our position, are able in showing us restaurants, hotels, shops, banks, drugstores and everything we need, even classifying the showed results on the basis of the appreciation of other users. Thus, it is clear that geospatial technology is already present in the very core of our lives.
Just few years ago, Italy was a Country with more people than spaces. Nowadays, we’re living the opposite conditions: Italy is a Country full of spaces but without people. In Italy we build 8 meters per second, the urbanization rate grew of the 400% between the Post-War period and the 2000, in the same period, the population grew only of the 27%. Depreciation of real-estate goods, due also to the increment of the supply-side of the market, generated an over-production crisis that, as occurred in Spain and in US, has been the origin of other and more complex difficulties of the entire economic system, generating other structural crises. It is not a case, thus, that this economic phase is lasting since 2008 and that today in Italy we have more than 6 million real-estate goods that are unused or underused (that is two times the city of Rome completely uninhabited). These goods are residential buildings (5 millions), public, semi-public and private buildings as, for example empty factories or abandoned industrial buildings, abandoned schools, buildings owned by mutual aid societies or People’s House cooperatives, Winemaking Cooperatives, colonies, and other closed spaces owned by municipalities (hospitals, neighborhood branches, schools and other spaces donated by private citizens as e. g. bequests), abandoned rail stations, buildings confiscated to the mafia, ghost towns, unused road worker’s houses, and many other cases could fill in the list of the parts of Italy that we let go.
This paper focuses mainly on issues related to digital tourism with connection to the italian context, in an attempt to show the potentiality offered by the GIS for the development of the tourism sector. For this reason, it will be reported exemplifying cases, of which features and purposes will be highlighted. The digitisation represents a new challenge for the tourist offer in Italy. Some studies and proposals promoted by TD Lab (2014) and by the association ItaliaDecide (2014) have highlighted the need for innovation in the italian tourism sector. The digitisation of tourist services therefore offers the opportunity to reaffirm the competitiveness of an industry with enormous potentiality and resources, but that shows signs of criticality and stagnation. Before examining aspects closely related to digital, it will focus on the concept of tourism and its recent developments. The latter in fact, depend on the growing segmentation of demand, pivoted on the search for new experiences and authentic by the tourist. From this perspective it is seen how the tourist promotion is closely connected with the practices of cultural enhancement and marketing strategies, linked to digital communication.