If you are planning an Audio Tour as part of your visitors' outdoor experience, consider the benefits of the web page-based Audio Tour software presented here:
See below for notes and for the earlier-generation web page for the AUDIO TOUR workshop that took place at the ANJEE Fall Conference 2019 of NJ Environmental Educators.
overview of Audio Tour
smartphone settings requirements(check these if audio messages are NOT heard)
short guided demo in Coach Barn area, with optional Turtle Lake Path
history and motivation for Audio Tour project
How might this Audio Tour system possibly fit into the work of Environmental Educators guiding visitors in outdoor experiences?
When visiting parks and zoos and institutes and gardens and museums, visitors are awed and dazzled under the tutelage of an Environmental Educator providing insightful commentary and guidance during exploration of the surrounding nearby reality. Visitors also appreciate having attention paid and feedback provided to their to their inquisitive reflections.
The visitor experience is sadly diminished when an expert guide is unavailable, and visitors must move somewhat blindly, questions unanswered, with a haunting feeling of missed insights.
The Audio Tour system provides Environmental Educators with contemporary media tools to effectively and efficiently capture their expertise, to enhance the unguided on-your-own visitor experience.
GPS navigation is a winning technology that is useful in so many situations. After experiencing Avenza for trail navigation, I tried coding a Google Maps overlay showing Long Branch NJ beach features, while using the Google Map's live geolocation capability. From this start, I spun off an automatic GPS directions launch web page, and the Audio Tour system. I also successfully cut the cord from Google Maps to independently geolocate on any map as part of the Audio Tour system. This facilitated an additional product for tracing artwork from a smartphone onto a much larger geographic area such as an ocean beach.
architecture of Audio Tour system
user/visitor privacy and safety considerations
It’s tempting, particularly if your budget is generous, to go out to professionals to record and produce elaborate audio tracks with nature sounds, music, and an engaging narrator’s voice, that might be used for Audio Tour website or app streaming. The demonstrated Audio Tour system herein actually does accomodate pre-recorded audio tracks.
So you may have a friend who can produce these tracks for you. But have you considered visitors who have metered and limited data plans, or might you be worried that cellular service is weak at your venue? Then let’s do the calculations. The Audio Tour system demoed here downloads to a smartphone about one megabyte of data when an Audio Tour page loads. After that, there is nothing else to download, and the visitor can actually go off the network, off-line, and the prior one megabyte download will keep the visitor busy for hours. By contrast, one megabyte of streaming audio lasts only about 25 seconds.
The low bandwidth of the browser-voiced Audio Tour is possible because its software design harnesses the increasing power of a smartphone processor and memory, and the evolving and growing power found in all browsers. The result is perhaps not an Emmy-award-winning performance, but is intelligible and has the unique advantages of potentially very large amounts of content that can be kept timely, can be easily updated, and can be selected with specificity to create each unique Audio Tour message.
implementing an Audio Tour
Q&A Audio Tour demo feedback
Q&A Needs Assessment from Environmental Educators
ideas for future project development