This is the last in a four-part (I, II, III) exploration of guided tour tech. In Part One, I mused about the potential for using ICTs to connect experts in particular disciplines with tourists visiting a particular site on an ad hoc basis. Apparently this coordination problem has been somewhat solved by combining iPods and downloadable audio tours.
The Christian Science Monitor on April 12 of this year ran a story called "Download a Story, Then Tour Downtown." One of the main advantages of the new crop of downloadable audio guides is that they break out of the standard tour guide fare. Robert Pyles, founder of one of the services Audissey is quoted as saying, "We view our tours as the anti-tour. You get off the main streets, take an alley, walk through a building, get a real sense of the city."
In addition, you don’t look like a tourist walking around listening
to your iPod, which is a big plus in my book. Particularly if you are
touring in your own city. I’d love to try out Soundwalk’s Chinatown and Bronx graffiti tours.
Here are some of the audio tour guide services listed in the CSM article:
Audissey Guides –
: specializing in Boston.
www.soundwalk.com : specializing in New York.
Slate Audio Tours –
www.slate.com/id/2132202 Focus on major Washington
monuments from architecture critic Witold Rybczynski. Free!
Art Mobs –
– compiles the work of Marymount Manhattan College students as they
look at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in critical, cynical, and
comical lights. Free!
selection of European cities.