Author: Tour Buddy Apps

Gettysburg Tour Guide App

Guidebook Companion Driving App for the Gettysburg Battlefield

“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here” -Abraham Lincoln

July 1, 2, and 3rd of 1863 are remembered by so many for the epic and most important battle fought on American soil, the battle of Gettysburg.  You can now experience and explore the battlefield at your own pace from your car or home.  Gettysburg Tours wanted to transform the typical history lesson into an immersive and self guided auto tour with action videos, stunning photos, GPS-triggered audio, and interactive maps. They accomplished all this using the Tour Buddy App Builder Platform.  The Gettysburg Tour Guide App offers a flexible and easy fun family experience for all ages.  Visitors can purchase the book, Experience Gettysburg: Ultimate Tour Guidebook in the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center and then download  download the free app on App Store and Google Play and use the sign-in from the book to access the full tour.  The full tour is only available to users who purchase the book.

Experience Gettysburg: Ultimate Tour Guidebook Package

The Gettysburg Tour Guide App is accompanied by the Experience Gettysburg: Ultimate Tour Guidebook written by Nicholas Wiley and Joseph E. Mieczkowski (Licensed Battlefield Guide).  The book/app package  combo empowers you to imagine the battle unfolding right in front of you with high quality content and an interactive app.

 

About the App

The 16 stops and 31 driving tracks are all GPS activated and hands free so you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road and sights to see.  These stops and tracks are packed with information containing leaders and soldiers in the battle, monuments and markers that honor them, artillery and weapons used, facts and figures, and a YouTube link depicting battle reenactment.   The Gettysburg Tours team also wanted to include local art in their app. Users will see beautiful dramatic paintings by Dale Gallon, a world renowned local artist whose art tells a history lesson in themselves.

See more driving tour apps and contact Tour Buddy Apps to learn how you can build a better visitor experience.

Explore M123 Enterprise App

Explore M123 Tour App, Northern Michigan Available for iPhone and iPad

We are proud of our latest enterprise app Explore M123.  This interactive guide of scenic Northern Michigan offers 3 individual guides for you to download and access offline.  Each of the guides offer beautiful images and audio narratives of this rustic and storied country as well as interactive GPS maps and contact information for places to visit. State route M123 is just one road.  One road.  Many stories.

  1.  Explore M123 takes you down state route M-123, 63 miles of pure Upper Peninsula Michigan.  The audio tour dishes on the stories behind picturesque stops like the Crisp Point Lighthouse and its amazing place in Michigan’s maritime history. Winter and summer activities guides help you find interesting local pastimes.  An accommodations guide is also included to help locate lodging.
  2. The Great Water’s Region Guide includes three trail tours that show every bit of the area’s natural beauty, charming small town life and world renowned landmarks. The Lake Superior Trail, Lake Huron Trail and Lake Michigan Trail are all at your fingertips for use with your iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
  3. Because Explore M123 is an enterprise app with multiple tours, it also includes a video tour of the Tahquamenon Scenic Byway.  The video tour provides more depth through real stories and experiences, which illustrate the beauty and singularity of the area.  You can download the video tour and access it offline, along with all the other tours in the enterprise app.

Download Explore M123 on the App Store

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Download Explore M123 on Google Play
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More about the Tour Buddy Enterprise App >>

Additional Guides can be added or deleted at any time and all guide content is updated dynamically through the Tour Buddy App Builder Website.

Explore M123 Screenshots

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August App Spotlight – War of 1812 Tour Alexandria, VA

War of 1812 Tour App, Alexandria, VA

Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.  We love history and are excited to share our lastest customer app that commemorates the 200 year anniversary of the British occupation of Alexandria, Virginia during the War of 1812.  The app features a tour of 10 blocks of Alexandria and includes sites connected to the War of 1812 and the British occupation of the city late August of 1814. The app includes photos and extra stops only available through the app.  The tour was developed as a Boy Scout Troop 1865 Eagle Scout project for the Alexandria War of 1812 Commemoration.

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Alexandria Civil War App

Civil War History at Your Fingertips

Civil War Tour App, Alexandria VA

If you like this app, download the Civil War Tour App of Alexandria which offers an audio tour of civil war history in Alexandria, VA.

Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.

 

 

New App Features: Favorites & Accent Color

We are always looking for little ways to improve our app user experience and allow clients to brand their apps so we’ve added a couple of new features to our app that are now available to all IOS app clients.

Choose your accent color

Previously most of our client apps came in ‘tour buddy blue’ but now clients can configure the accent color throughout the app to match their brand. Just enter the hex color code in our Design page on the app builder website and preview the results by downloaing a preview to the Tour Buddy App. Simple. We also look forward to our new website images that will sport a rainbow of colors in our app screenshots!

 

Favorites:  Save favorite POI/Stops for later

This was a great suggestion from an attendee of the Savannah Stopover Festival after using the Stopover app – built on the Tour Buddy App Builder platform.  Every stop now has a star next to it which the user can tap and add it to the ‘favorite’ list.  The user can access the list of ‘favorites’ anytime by clicking on the star in the header.  We are now offering this feature to all clients and it will debut in the Dig South Festival App next week.

 

Learn about all the features that Tour Buddy Apps offers.  

Offer a Hands-Free Driving Tour Experience

Here is a quick guide on how to turn your Tour Buddy App into a hands free Automatic Tour Guide that plays information at the right points while you are driving.   Seriously? yup.  But, in the interest of convenience these features are all ‘opt-in’ for the user and here is how to do it.

1. Click on the ‘settings’ wheel in the corner of the app landing page or the ‘audio’ icon on every screen. 


2. Turn ‘On’ the first four settings

GPS Auto Play

Allow the audio to play automatically when you pass a gps point

 GPS Detection Radius

The distance from the GPS point that the app will trigger the audio.  Distance is in meters and can be altered.  Not recommend to go lower than 30 meters or above 150 meters for radius.

Kiosk Mode

Keep your phone ‘awake’ while you are driving so that you don’t’ have to touch it

Audio Slideshow

Rotates images while audio is playing.


And you’re ready for a hands free, app driving tour experience!

Want to create your own Driving Tour?

You can easily create your own driving tour to automatically play in your vehicle(s) or so that visitors can download it on the app store and use it themselves.  Check out the pricing plans that we offer.

Check out the new Tour Buddy ios7 iPad App

With our new ios7 app we have released an iPad only app.  This app has a different ‘iPad’ friendly navigation with the stop list on the left and stop content on the right.  It also differs from the iPhone app in that it will appear in the iPad app section of the app store that users see when they search the app store on their iPad app.  You can preview your app on an iPad using the Tour Buddy App Guides app.

Check out some screenshots for the ios7 iPad app below and you can download our demo app  at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tour-buddy-app-guides/id736706492?ls=1&mt=8.

 

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Tour Buddy founder to speak at Refresh Savannah

Building Software Products is hard!

As a mobile app product company, we in a constant state of developing new products and features.  On Tuesday night, our Founder and CEO will speak at Refresh Savannah and share some insights for creating technology based products.  She will also offer specific examples of decisions we’ve made along the way in creating Tour Buddy’s apps – and some mistakes that have taught us valuable lessons.  After all with an 1.IOS mobile app, 2.Android mobile app and 3. a web based platform (application) to aid our clients with creating, publishing and managing those mobile apps we are constantly launching a feature or version for one of our applications.  Our approach is that our clients (those who pay for our products) know best so we prefer to launch a minimum functional version of a new product or feature (MVP – minimum viable product) and let user feedback shape how we will further develop and integrate it into our existing platform – or not in some cases.

Why the MVP?

It was once the accepted practice that when businesses created new features or products, they would put a lot of time and resources into planning, building, testing and tweaking before finally launching when everything was perfect.  Well, this worked fabulously for some products but for many others, they missed the mark and sometimes failed completely.  Why?  because no matter how much up front planning we do, we cannot anticipate customers’ needs or their reactions to our products.  Once a product is put out to the paying public, its real utility and value become apparent as well as what features it needs to fulfill its destiny.  Or in some many sad cases, we discover that the idea is a flop and  can redirect those resources to a more successful product/feature.

Tour Buddy Pipeline

For example, we are currently in the process of *rebuilding* our IOS app in order to fully take advantage of iOS7 instead of just modifying our existing app to run on iOS7.  We are taking this opportunity to revamp the navigation and UI of our app and add a bunch of cool new features that customers have always asked for.  Once we have launched our beta (we always test features on tour buddy apps not our client apps!) and received enough feedback we will slowly roll it out for all of our clients and then start working on the Android app and build out the UI nf our web application to fully support those new features – during which time we’ll probably be working on the next set of improvements for the IOS app.  And why do we always build for IOS first?  Well because it is the easiest (and fastest) way to test new features and get to the point that paying customers can give us feedback.

Want to hear more?  Come to Refresh on Tuesday night at 6 PM and enjoy hearing the good the bad and the expensive in creating an MVP.

Just tap each stop to hear narrated stories and navigate the content through the stop menu and GPS tour map.

Alexandria VA App offers Civil War History for the People

Q & A with Liz Williams, Assistant Director for the City of Alexandria

Civil War Alexandria, VA

Civil War History at Your Fingertips

The City of Alexandria utilized the Tour Buddy App Builder platform to publish their Civil War Driving Tour App for iPhone and Android. This app allows users to “explore Civil War Alexandria and discover how Robert E. Lee’s hometown of Confederate loyalists became a major operations center for Union forces while thousands of African Americans came to the town seeking freedom and security behind Union lines. Alexandria’s unique Civil War heritage gives visitors today the chance to see a Union fort, Confederate memorial, and museums dedicated to African American history. Check out more than two dozen distinctive sites and learn why Alexandria’s position as an occupied city made its Civil War experience unlike any other town in America – and why today Alexandria embraces its diversity as well as its past!”

Q: What made you decide to build an app for your organization?

A: It was the Civil War Sesquicentennial and we wanted to share the City of Alexandria’s Civil War history to as many people as possible. The mobile app was the perfect way to provide that information to guests and residents, meeting them where they are – on their smartphones.

Q: What is the best part about your app?

A: The best part of the app is the historic photos we used to showcase each stop. It brings a different perspective when you are looking at each stop.

Q: What did you like about working with Tour Buddy to create your app?

A: The platform was easy to use, allowing us to upload all the information ourselves.  And the staff was extremely helpful is providing good tips to make the product the best it could be.

Q: What advice would you give to other organizations who are looking to create an app?

A: Make sure you have an end goal in mind before you start. Plus high resolution graphics, a good data collector, and a skillful writer.

Download the iPhone app:https://itunes.apple.com/app/civil-war-alexandria/id437084134?mt=8
Download the Google Play app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tb.tb50&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS50Yi50YjUwIl0.

[stylebox type=”info”]Want your very own app to commemorate a special anniversary or share about your city? Contact us today at info@tourbuddy.net.[/stylebox]

Geo Location App for National Park Bus Tours

We were excited to deliver a new custom app this summer for New Forest National Park in England.  It is a private (not on the app store) Geo Locating iPhone app that automatically plays commentary along three bus routes.  The app is installed on iPad minis which are plugged into the bus speaker systems. The buses provide transportation around the park and allow visitors to hop on and off at various locations. As the bus passes various locations, the app audio plays automatically, giving riders information about the points of interest and upcoming stops. And coincidentally, New Forest Park experienced record visitor numbers this summer – though it might have had more to do with the weather than their snazzy new app.  

We were really excited to create this app since it merges the incredible multimedia feature set available on smart phones with the geo-location feature that was previously only available through GPS hardware devices—which are limited in their functionality.  New Forest had been using a gps hardware device that had been modified to play audio through the bus speaker system.  However it was very difficult to make changes to both the audio and the gps points and didn’t give the driver a dashboard to override the tour stops or see what was playing.  Now the New Forest staff can easily update the audio tracks and GPS points through the Tour Buddy App Builder website, which automatically pushes changes out to the apps.  The app works without any Wifi or cellular connection which was important since there is not a reliable cellular signal throughout the park.  The app also includes compass points so that the audio tracks only play when the bus is travelling in the forward direction and not on the return trip.

Nat Taplin, with the New Forest National Park Authority, has been pleased with the results and urges visitors to visit www.thenewforesttour.info to see the open-top buses that the commentary app is being used on and the wonderful landscapes which it is helping to bring to life for travelers.

New Features, iOS 7 App & iPad App

We are always getting great feedback about our apps and working on ways to improve the user experience so that our clients can offer an app that is both packed with great content and easy to use. So, you may notice some improvements in the apps that we released (and rereleased) this summer.

Social Sharing

We have added a social sharing button on both iPhone and Android Apps that allows the user to share the stop information along with a link to the app on social media or email.

Search Bar:

We have added a search bar at the top of the list view for iPhone Apps (only).

New Menu Screen:

Check out the new menu screen for our iPhone apps.  It displays images from each list or category along with a gallery of 10 app images.  Very Cool.

If you want to check out one of our apps with our new features, we suggest downloading the Savannah Walking Tour LITE for iPhone or Android.

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Whats Next?

We have only released a couple of new features this summer since we are already working on our brand new Version 3.0 iOS 7 App!  We have rebuilt our app under the hood to maximize the new features in iOS 7 and are working on a brand new user interface that will have the look and feel of iOWe will also be releasing an iPad only app that will have its own ‘iPad friendly’ navigation.  We expect to offer these new IOS apps later in the fall after Apple has officially released iOS 7.  We will be sending out this new app to clients for feedback and will announce all the new features in that app when the time gets closer.

And what about our Android users?  Once we have released our new design and iterated based on client and user feedback, we will start incorporating those features into the Android App.

Big Cat Rescue Mobile App

Big Cat Rescue’s CEO Loves Their Mobile App!

We caught up with Big Cat Rescue’s #1 cat lover and CEO Carole Baskin about her experience using our tour app builder platform.  The app offers a tour of the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary complete with photos and audio for over 100 Cats along with a gps based and Campus map.  The app is updated as new cats are brought in to the sanctuary.  The app is available for iPhone and Android.

Tour Buddy: What made you decide to build an app for your organization?

Baskin: We had an app designed for us by a donor, but we didn’t have the ability to keep it current and didn’t want to keep asking him to update it, so the Tour Buddy app was a great way to get what we wanted, without bothering anyone else.

Tour Buddy: How long did it take to create the content and create the app using the Tour Buddy app builder website?

Baskin: It took me two days to build our tour, and that included 105 exotic cats (or stops, as would be the lingo on most tours). There was a photo of each cat, a written bio and an audio bio recording for each cat. We also plotted each cat out on a map in the app. I think it could have been done in a day, if I had all of the files ready ahead of time.

Tour Buddy: What is some of the feedback you have received from the app users?

Baskin: Big Cat Rescue app users love being able to see the cats and hear their stories. It is also a great training tool for our tour guides to learn the cats’ stories and facts about all of the cats at the sanctuary.

Tour Buddy: What is the best part about your app?

Baskin: My favorite thing about Tour Buddy is the ability to update it any time and that it is available in both iTunes and the Google Play Store.

Tour Buddy: What did you like about working with Tour Buddy to create your app?

Baskin: The interface was so user friendly that I didn’t need to schedule training and that means a lot to me since time is what I have the least of.

Tour Buddy: What advice would you give to other organizations that are looking to create an app?

Baskin: The Tour Buddy app is IT. No one knows your site like you do, so take the time to put it all in an app and you will benefit from the effort.

Tour Buddy: How often do you make updates to the app content?

Baskin: We update the content less than once a month and expect that we will maintain this same schedule.

Tour Buddy: What impact has your app had on your organization?

Baskin: The Tour Buddy app has enabled me to make sure that every tour guide gets the exact, “purrfect” story on each cat. In the past, our tour guides trained tour guides and, like the old game of telephone, the message gets changed the more it is handed down. We use a written guide, but people still repeat what they hear more than what they read. By having our audio stories all contained in the Big Cat Rescue app, every guide is hearing the accurate and relevant stories of the 105 exotic cats at the sanctuary.

Find Big Cat Rescue on YouTube at BigCatTV.com (More than 63,000,000 views) or on

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BigCatRescue (More than 95,000 Big Cat Rescue fans).

Tour Buddy helps its clients reach new audiences.  Create an app, update it on the fly, and build your own tour in less than a week (Baskin finished theirs in TWO DAYS!).  If you are interested in creating your own mobile app, or you have a question about our tour app builder, please feel free to contact us! You can also check out our FAQ page for more information.

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Art museums are increasingly using Apps to share their Art

We wanted to share a great article from the Pittsburgh Tribune that talks about how some of the big art museums are using mobile apps to share their collections.
While all of the apps mentioned are custom built apps for these specific uses, the Tour Buddy App Builder allows our clients to easily create a great app that can show off their collection for a fraction of the cost of the custom app and without the intensive time commitment that comes with creating a custom app.

Here are some excerpts from the article.  See the full article here:  http://triblive.com/aande/museums/3895491-74/pop-app-warhol#axzz2TBobSAAd

Sometimes making time to visit museums is difficult, but increasingly phone and tablet applications are allowing patrons to carry a world of art in their pockets and many even let people put their own spin on these masterpieces.

Many of the most famous museums in the world have apps that allow viewers to check out their collections or plan visits. For example:

• The Museum of Modern Art app includes an index of all works and artists featured in the collection as well as a database of art terms, and MoMA Tracks allows visitors to select their own music to listen to while exploring the museum or the app. A newly released MoMA Art Lab app is designed for children to create artworks using shapes, lines and colors.

• The Tate Museum in London has 16 apps, mostly free. They range from the educational, such as the Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms, to the just-for-fun: the Muybridgizer allows you to create an Eadweard Muybridge-style animation using your iPhone camera.

• An updated Louvre Museum app released last year has more than 100 images from the collection.

• The American Museum of Natural History has several apps, including one devoted to its dinosaur collection and one that helps you navigate through the New York City site.

• The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia app shows 31 sculptures by Rodin with audio and visual information on the objects, the artist and the museum.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/museums/3895491-74/pop-app-warhol#ixzz2TBpb69k6
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

 

check out the full article here: http://triblive.com/aande/museums/3895491-74/pop-app-warhol#axzz2TBobSAAd

 

Art enthusiast builds mobile app based on stamps

Paris: Art and Stamps App for Louvre and Musee d’Orsay

We love sharing about the new Paris: Art and Stamps app because it was built by one guy who loves art–Mark H. Haimann, M.D. A retired ophthalmologist, Haimann has always enjoyed art, medicine, and stamp collecting, and this passion led him to build his very own app using our app builder platform by uploading 125 images of postage stamps that are miniatures of works found in the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay. Haimann also added the audio, and he will be leading a tour group there this summer to explore these world-famous museums where the group’s visit to both will be enhanced by the app he built on our easy-to-use (and edit on the fly!) platform.

Each painting can be viewed in full with web links while listening to the narration, and other related works of art are also referenced with web links. Haimann wanted the app to be something people could enjoy while on-site seeing the works of art firsthand or for those who haven’t yet visited the Louvre or Musee d’Orsay but want to be whisked away to Paris through listening to the audio and viewing the images on the mobile app.

Haimann opted for a $1.99 price tag for his app because all proceeds from the sale of the Paris: Art and Stamps app benefit the American Philatelic Society.

To hear sample audio and view some of the stamps, visit http://www.artandstamps.net/.

Download:

Download for iPhone/iPad users

Download for Android users

HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A WEB APP OR NATIVE APP

This month’s post is brought to you by our guest blogger Brant Huddleston, a maverick in Mobile Toursim.

See the original post here and see what else Brant has to say or sign up to receive his blog posts here.

 

It’s slow. It’s clunky (compared to others). It’s not as pretty. It’s the so-called “web” app ~ as distinguished from the “native” app. So why build one? Well, there are some good reasons, and the biggest one is, web apps are “cross platform,” that is, they will run on any kind of mobile device that is connected to the Internet. So in the same way you access the Internet from a PC using the browser of your choice, regardless of who manufactured your PC, you can access web apps using the browser of your choice, regardless of who manufactured your mobile device. Sounds great, yes?

Not so fast, kemosabe.  Remember, there is a war on, Google vs. Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Blackberry and so on. Each of those companies make mobile devices, and they don’t want their device turned into a commodity. They don’t care much for web apps or the technology that makes them possible: HTML5. So the big (rich) players, namely Apple and Google, are investing gazillionsto keep you, and the armies of developers who build apps, on their proprietary platforms, that is, on native. How do they do that? Innovation.

Native Rocks!

As of today (2013), the best apps are native apps. They look better, have more polish, perform faster, are available in the app stores and thus easily monetized, and are easier to use. Slick and fast, they are. Users love them. Plus, because native apps are built on platforms offered by hardware manufacturers who want you to LOVE the hardware they make, native apps make better use of the hardware than do web apps. Just look at any app taking full advantage of your device’s embedded camera, accelerometer, or headphone jack, and you’ll find a native app. Steve Jobs is knowns for having quoted Alan Kay with “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” The integration of hardware and software is where the magic of innovation happens.

Then there is the matter of roaming charges ~ a key issue for tourism apps. Tourists, by definition, are away from home, and therefore subject to network roaming charges when they use their mobile devices. That can get expensive, especially if your tourism app requires heavy data downloads, say for audio or video.

One solution is to allow the user to download all that data-heavy content when she is in range of cheap or free WiFi, say before leaving home or at the hotel. Once those heavy files have been downloaded and stored in the device’s local memory, there is no need to ever download them again. Those files are then acessible anywhere, anytime, at no cost, even when there is no Internet connection.

Not so with a web app. In that case, very little is stored in the device’ s local storage. A web app pretty much has to download all the files every time the app is used, which is one reason why they are relatively slow. Once out in the field and standing near a point of interest, chances are the user’s device will not be in range of cheap or free WiFi, and so roaming charges may apply. Ouch!

White Knight? What White Knight?

So where is this white knight on the white horse I alluded to in my last post, the one who would save us from the platform wars? Why bother with web apps and HTML5? Why not just “go native”?

I’ve mentioned one big reason already ~ the cross-platform nature of HTML5. A web app is yourbest, least expensive way to build an app that will run on a broad range of mobile devices, regardless of the manufacturer. Otherwise, your tour app will need to be developed for Apple’s iOS platform using one programming language (Objective-C), and then again for Android using a different programming language (Java). Want a version of your app for the new Windows phone? Then it must be built using yet another programming language (C#). The next thing you know, you have three sets of code for three versions of your app, and your hassles and costs are skyrocketing.

Then there is the problem of which Android. Remember, Android is an open platform, or the wild, wild west as I refer to it. One result of this openness is that there are hundreds, nay thousands, of devices in the market using the Android operating system. Each one is different, and each has its own peculiarities, so your app might look great on one but lousy on another. Android is no walled garden.

A Garden Party in the Walled Garden. But who’s Invited?

“Ah, simple,” you may say. “We will just build our app for the Apple iOS platform and forget about Android. We will just have a happy little garden party inside of Apple’s walled garden, just like Steve Jobs wanted us to.”  Then kiss good-bye almost every tourist coming from developing countries, and certainly China, where Android devices are preferred over iOS devices by like six to one. Building your app for iOS only would be like opening a store and only allowing one out of every six customers to come in. Granted, that one customer tends to be more affluent and speak English, but I submit developing for iOS only is a shortsighted strategy for tourism apps.

There are companies, like Appcelerator and Phonegap, that offer ways to build a single set of app code and have it work on multiple platforms. That is one option and a good one to consider. Another is to build your app on HTML5.

HTML5 is a Knight in Training

HTML5 is no more, no less, than the next version of the same programming language (HTML, or HyperText Markup Language) that is used to build virtually every web site on the Internet today, including yours. Sure, you may have used WordPress, PHP and CSS to build your site, but under the covers is HTML. The “5″ simply designates that this fifth version of HTML is highly accommodating to mobile devices. It is not owned by any one company, but is rather, developed by committee, which means it is slow to evolve while good intentioned developers have food fights (in committee) over which direction HTML should take. The ideas and intentions are good. HTML5 holds great promise, but it is still a young knight in training.

But I predict many of the shortcomings of web apps I have mentioned will fade away in due time, making it a good choice for your tourism app. More pervasive free WiFi will mitigate the roaming charge and performance problems. HTML5 or 6 will do a better job of leveraging the hardware, and offer programmers more tools for creating slick, polished apps. There will be solid ways to monetize web apps, without going through one of the proprietary app stores. In due time.

It Comes Back to Your Story

In the meanwhile, develop great content that can be used on all the platforms, both those available now and also those that are emerging, like Google Glass and “phablets” (a cross between a smartphone and a tablet). Think of it this way: Orson Wells made the movie Citizen Kane in 1941. The delivery “platform” for his content back then was film, and you could only see the movie once in your local movie theater. Since then, Citizen Kane has been migrated to newer and better platforms: black and white TV, color television, VHS, DVD, Blue Ray, and soon, streaming. The content (story, cinematography, script. etc)  is still the same, and is considered by film critics to be one of the best movies ever made.

Make your content with the same passion for excellence, tell your story and tell it well, and it will live forever.

Creating Audio – Mixing in Music and Effects

So you’ve recorded your audio tracks and are thinking about editing or mixing in some music or sound effects.  Here are some free, easy to use programs to help you.

 

There are lots of free (and paid) online and downloadable programs that allow you to easily edit voice tracks and mix in music and sound effects.   Here are a few we recommend.

  • Audacity:  Download this free program onto your computer and get started.  It will allow you to mix multiple tracks and add lots of cool effects.   But the output will be a .wav file so make sure to convert to .mp3 before uploading to the App Builder.
  •  Wave Pad – another intuitive product by NCH this allows you to easily edit and mix your audio content.
  •  Pocket Wave Pad:  This is a great (and free) iPhone app that allows you to record and mix in other tracks.  However make sure to convert to MP3 files before you upload to the App Builder.
Mixing Tip:  Always make sure that the voice is not drowned out by music or sound effects.  We also recommend using compression on the voice track whenever you add other sounds behind it.  This will give it a richer, stronger sound.

 

Need Music and Sound Effects?

There are a lot of websites that offer music and sound effects for your project.  Most of them charge a small fee for full rights to the media.  We recommend doing a web search for a specific sound effect (ie.  royalty free fire engine) to find what you need.

Here are a couple we recommend:  Royalty Free Music Library ,  Audio Micro , Shockwave

 Need a Professional?

We can offer full service audio tour consultation services from writing the script to professional studio recording and post production editing/mixing/mastering. Just fill out the form below for more information.






Easy: Create Engaging Audio Content

How to create quick and easy audio tracks for your Tour and mobile App.

These days you don’t have to work for a studio to lay down your audio tracks.   There are many good quality and FREE programs that allow you to record voice and even mix in some music and sound effects.

Record your Voice

  1. Use your smart phone:  Every smart phone has a recording feature.  This is the easiest way to quickly record your voice.  Make sure that there are no ambient noises because the microphone will pick them up.  Most phones record as MP4 files so you will have to upload them to your computer and convert to MP3 files.  See below for more on that.  OR download an app for your smartphone that converts directly to mp3 – we recommend HI-Q for Android.
  2.  Use a microphone on your computer:  You can buy a good quality microphone for around $10 these days.  Plug it in and record your voice using Windows Media Player or any of the software programs listed below for mixing your audio tracks.

 

Converting Audio Files to MP3:

You will need to convert your audio files to MP3 format before uploading them to the Tour Buddy App Builder.  There are lots of free internet software programs that allow you to easily convert batches of audio files.  Our hands down favorite  is Switch by NCH with an easy interface and ability to convert to/from over 40 audio formats including wav, mp3, wma, m4a, ogg, avi, mid, flac, mov, amr, aac, au, aif, raw, dvf, vox, cda, gsm, dss, wmv and lots more.  A free option can be found here, but you will have to convert each file individually: https://audio.online-convert.com/convert-to-mp3

When converting your audio files for use on a smart phone app, always render to the lowest bit rate possible without sacrificing quality so that the files will take up less space.  And ALWAYS render in mono for smart phones since their hardware does not take advantage of a stereo recording.

These are our recommendations but you should always email yourself a test file on your smart phone and open it to test the sound quality.

Voice only:  as low as 32 kps

Voice and music:  as low as 64 kps

Voice with lots of music and sound effects:  96 kps

 

 Need a Professional?

We can offer full service audio tour consultation services from writing the script to professional studio recording and post production editing/mixing/mastering. Fill out our form below for more information or send us an e-mail at info@tourbuddy.net.

 






 

Meet your Local Startup

check out this Guest blog-post on The Creative Coast from our Tour Buddy founder.  See the full blog post here:  http://www.thecreativecoast.org/meet-your-local-startup/#.Ul6rrFBJN8E

downtown-tech-crawl-logo

Technology companies in Savannah. That’s what everyone wants. We can debate and speculate on the chicken or the egg of needing funding vs talent but we can also just DO something. Everyone can SUPPORT Savannah’s growing TECHNOLOGY COMMUNITY by USING and talking about their PRODUCTS!! Come out and meet the people and companies that are building technology companies right here in the Low Country!

On July 17th, ten of Savannah’s tech companies will be presenting along the Downtown Tech Crawl. You’ll meet a good mix of brand spanking new startups, some established success stories and everything in between. Learn about their products and meet the entrepreneurs who are making it happen –while enjoying food, beverages and a scenic ride around downtown courtesy of Old Savannah Trolley.

Step One is meeting them. Now, how can you support them? Here is how it works: The most important thing for a product based technology startup is (in order of importance):

  • 1.   Users (friends, family, paid relatives, etc)
  • 2.   Feedback
  • 3.   Early Adopters (ongoing users)
  • 4.   Paying Customers

Not what you expected? The trajectory of a typical startup starts with a concept that can usually be built fairly easily. The hard part is turning it into a sellable product. This involves getting users, iterating, repositioning, and then marketing. And these type of companies are built on the idea of scalability meaning that each additional “product” or “user” doesn’t require a lot of work so they are happy to give it away for free to gain feedback and early adopters.

All of us can foster technology companies in Savannah! It’s easy-

  • 1.   Get to know them and learn about their products. Here are some companies that you’ll get to meet on theTech Crawl
  • 2.   Go to their website, see if you can be one of those four things they need or recommend them to someone who can.
  • 3.   Talk about them! “Like” them on Facebook or “follow” them on Twitter. When they announce new products or success, help spread the word. Word of mouth goes a long way during the struggling first months of a new company. They need your voice!

Speaking of which, there are two cool Savannah startups on the verge of launching their products and looking for beta testers. Check out Green Light, an online management system for insurance certificates and other official documents and Bright Here that is reinventing the way we consume the news.

So why participate? In the long run, how does helping one little startup company foster technology companies in Savannah?

  • 1.   The success of some of these technology pioneers will inspire others to take the risk to pursue their concept.
  • 2.   Successful entrepreneurs can serve as mentors (and investors) to aspiring entrepreneurs as I was a grateful beneficiary.
  • 3.   Startups are magnetic! If we create a community of successful technologists (as some like to be called) other ones will want to move here, providing the talent we desperately need and a new group of startups.
  • 4.   So come out on July 17th and show some love for Savannah’s Technology community. You can RSVP here for a spot on one of the Trolleys.

And you can also come out to The Creative Coast Office at 6 PM on July 6th to mingle with local technologists at the Tech Crunch Meetup. Tech Crunch is one of the hottest technology blogs/websites in the country and will be stopping in Savannah, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Greenville to write about the startup scene in the Southeast (WOW!). RSVP here or just drop in to show your support.

Enjoy this great article from www.idea.org about the need for mobile apps in Museums.

Museums still ignoring mobile, especially small museums

The vast majority of museums are totally ignoring mobile apps.

At present, ~350 iPhone apps have been actually created by museums. Of those, only one out of ten was created by a U.S. museum (the rest are non-U.S.). The other 760 iPhone apps matching “museum” in their title or description were created by travel and culture publishers, most of which are poor quality.
These pathetic numbers ignore smartphone reality. In the U.S. alone, half of all mobile phone customers now have smartphones, and there will soon be 1 million new smartphone (smartphones run apps) subscribers a week. This will be virtually all U.S. households in 5-7 years. Currently, Android and iOS are the two main app platforms. Numbers in Europe are similar.
Despite mobile’s potential to connect to visitor’s pockets (and pocketbooks), of the ~17,500 museums in the U.S., fewer than 2% currently have a mobile app.

continue reading the article here

iDMa 2011 Conference

 

 

 

 

 

Tour Buddy Founder will be Panelist at the upcoming iDMa 2011 Conference

Yvonne Jouffrault will serve on a panel titled ‘Innovation Drives Design’ at the upcoming iDMAa Conference at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA.

The iDMAa is  organization dedicated to serving educators, practitioners, scholars, and organizations with interests in digital media and art, by forging interdisciplinary partnerships to create opportunities and stimulate explosions of creativity.

Read more at http://www.idmaa.org/.