A new app recreates the history of iconic tourist sites, complete with interactive 3D maps, music and narration on your smartphone. Therese Poletti reports.
I don’t know what these guys are going to add exactly, from the story, but here’s some of things I want in a travel app.
1. Augmented Reality. There was an archipelago in Scandinavia where cruise ships stopped at the site of a battle between Russia, England and Sweden, if my memory serves me well. You were provided a Nokia smartphone with an app installed and were able to choose a language and a nationality. You then got shown what the fort looked like a couple of hundred years earlier and heard history from the perspective of that nationality within the battle, looking through the screen of your mobile. As you panned your phone over the geography, the image through the screen replicated what you would have seen if you had stepped back in time.So if you were Russian, you’d get the Russian perspective in your native language (or select a translation). I would love to do that in castles and other key places.
2. History and stories of who lived or had experiences in specific locations, not just famous people, but the ability for people to leave their own stories about their own experiences or family history. Aural graffiti if you like.
3. The music of the location. Songs or music that written about the place, or about the place. Could be folk music of the era, or perhaps a song John Lennon wrote, inspired by that location, or perhaps a famous performance that took place nearby.
4. Follow a tour based on your interests, for example I did a Blues Tour of Mississippi and Louisiana a couple of years ago. The Blues Tour information available on the road was a couple of pamphlets and roadside markers and a few signboards. The printed information was sparse.
5. Location based information. I visited places like the Pharr Mounds on Natchez Trace in 2012. All you can see today is some hills which were man made, but you wouldn’t know that. Again a couple of billboards. http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/mounds/pha.htm . I’m sure there have been reenactments and video stories of what happened there 2,000 years ago that could be shared. The Trace also has loads of other historic stopping points along its popular 444 mile journey through Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. The Information Centre is good, but its so old school. I don’t know what I want to know about the Trace until I’m standing at the historic Confederate ferry crossing or in the tobacco drying shed.
6. Access to photos and information libraries using AR. Point at an area and see photos that were taken there. Most of the popular photo sites like Flickr these days have location tied to their image libraries.
7. Navigation maps, whether it’s walking to a fresh water spring, once popular with the local Indian tribes or other Points of Interest, or driving to the next location of interest, I’d like to know where can I buy refreshments or get accommodation, petrol, more information? Guide me there as if I was using a TomTom or Garmin GPS nav unit.
8.The ability to share video, comments etc that are geotagged (info is tied to a geographic location) that other people can listen to when they are in situ.
9. Ratings of locations based in interest. The ability to create your own itinerary of places you would like to visit in an area.
10. Share with friends. This promotes the app and lets your friends share your experiences and perhaps create their own wish list of what they want to see or do.
11. Buddy Finder. If you and others have wandered in different directions in a city, on a trail etc, find each other again.
12. Where’s my car? Go for a long walk and get lost, knowing that the app will bring you back to where your transport is waiting. Whether its in a city or a park, people do get lost.
13. Photo journal. I tried to keep a journal of where I had been on my 4 State trip 2 years ago. It became a chore because the only time I really had to do it was at night, when I was negotiating with hotels for deals on the next night, or relaxing from a long day’s exploring. Taking geotagged photos and notes on the spot is much better. I used Foursquare for that in the end, but inside a tour app would be cool. You could then decide whether to share all or parts of your stories with others, family, friends, social media, or just have your own private experience that you can look back on.
Cool, time to move on, but this was a bit of my wish list. This is the 21st century folks, lets start working on 22nd century tourism apps and get rid of brochure-ware. Please note, I am not in any way criticizing the app that motivated this blog. I haven’t seen or used it yet. I’m hoping it’s awesome!