Audio Producer, Geolocation Enthusiast and VoiceMap Storyteller, Miranda Diboll, provides some insight into her BritPop audio tour of Camden. For her, creating a VoiceMap was a way of reliving an exciting past with an “older pair of eyes”.
VoiceMap: Do you see potential for apps and other new technology to engage new audiences in music from the past?
Miranda: There’s a lot of interest in music from previous decades. Anyone who loves music will tend to look back at the influences of their favourite bands and listen to those influences. Britpop is a case in point — it was very much influenced by the 60s, Northern Soul and Mod. Some people wrongly labelled it as a mod revival which it wasn’t, it was much more diverse than that.
Now people are seeing Britpop as much more than just a music craze or some kind of revival. Twenty years have passed and the music stands the test of time. The 90s was an interesting decade, it was a time of hope and celebration of British culture. For young people at the time, like myself, it was the first time we could see the end of years of Tory government. The internet was just round the corner and so was a Labour government that promised us so much. We had so much hope for music and politics! It didn’t last.
So yes, I think people are keen to engage with the past and a VoiceMap tour is an incredibly immersive way to do that.
When I last visited London, I decided to take a guided tour. Strolling along the banks of the Thames, I came across the famous London Plane Trees. It was September, and they were stunning at that time of year: their bark was peeling off to reveal mottled, grey-green trunks. I stopped. Touched the bark; took out my camera. The tour guide smiled obsequiously: “Come along, plenty to see”. I put my camera away and was herded over to a curio shop. Plane Trees just don’t pay the same commission as mini-Big-Bens.
A great tour guide is irreplaceable, but sometimes you just need to stop and look at the trees. You need to get off the beaten track, and explore the hidden, lesser-known side of a city. Sometimes, you need a tour guide with a pause button.
VoiceMap is working on a set of new features for hotels, guest house owners, Airbnb hosts, and anybody else who has paying guests. We want to make it quick and easy to create a short, immersive audio tour that allows you to show your guests around the neighbourhood without actually being there.
Spier Wine Farm and Once in Cape Town have already created similar tours, but we’re working out how to simplify and speed up this process, to make it more accessible for small businesses. Our team in Cape Town is piloting the project, and because VoiceMap is perfect for Airbnb’s plugged-in, international guests, we’re looking for two Airbnb hosts in the City Bowl or the Atlantic Seaboard. If you have a listing in either place, please get in touch. You’ll find our contact details below.
You’ll need to come into our Woodstock office for a chat, where we’ll help you map out a route that takes in some interesting sights, shops, bars, and other things your neighbourhood has to offer. Then you’ll need to work with us to create and record a script. You’ll be left with an immersive GPS tour which your guests can download. None of this will cost you anything.
If you’re interested, please send an email to [email protected], and we’ll send along more details.
If you’re after a walking tour app that has a diverse range of tours in London and other cities across the globe, VoiceMap is available for iOS and Android and includes GPS autoplay, offline functionality, clear directions, and over 200 audio tours created by passionate storytellers. You can even join the community and create your own tours.
Location-aware audio has an endless list of applications, but self-guided photography tours often seem like they were made for the medium. Having your hands free when a professional photographer suggests you pause in that exact spot to best capture a vista, getting advice on which settings to adjust, and then being led to another seemingly secret – and oh so photogenic – spot takes location-aware audio tours to a whole new level.
London is the first city where we’ve seen real demand for self-guided photography tours, and so far five have been released on VoiceMap’s walking tour app by two London-based photographers.
Not everyone is an audiophile, into the latest and greatest amplifiers and Hi-Fi’s, or a Sound Engineer with the know-how of the properties of noise, or even a techie nerd into all things gadgety. And that’s OK. I am all of the above and I’m here to (try and) help you!
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re wanting to record some audio on your phone, and get decent results. But, you’re not sure where to begin…
Well, most phones have some sort of recording app already, but it’s probably quite limited in functionality, and quality – and for the purposes of your recording, we want the best audio that is possible! No point in making a recording that has incomprehensible, unusable sound, right? Right!
Yes, Rome is eternal, but your stay isn’t. This leaves most visitors with a tricky choice: join a tour, and trade independence for a stuffy bus and the company of an underwhelming guide, or stay spontaneous but learn only as much as you can find in the pages of your guidebook, when you aren’t lost.
This itinerary is a third option, and the perfect middle ground. VoiceMap’s audio tours will lead you along Rome’s ancient roads, past world-famous landmarks, before sneaking you down hidden alleyways filled with secrets. Just install the app and download your tours using WiFi, then plug in your headphones and embark on your own personal adventure.
Kate Gorman is a storyteller with a background in theatre, film, and writing novels. She’s passionate about sci-fi, virtual realities and, naturally, Star Trek. To her, getting her own holodeck – a virtual reality facility from the Star Trek Universe, often used for participating in interactive stories or recreating familiar environments – would be a dream come true. But sadly, we don’t live in the future yet and creating such a device would cost a lot of money, so instead she used what is available to her : location-aware, GPS storytelling. Making use of a real-world environment, she produced a four-episode audio walk series in Washington D.C. using VoiceMap’s storytelling platform, creating a sensory experience that is similar to what someone in a virtual, interactive reality might have.
The devil lives here. Or at least that is what people believed, when the district was nothing more than fields, woods and the odd farm building – all to the west of the Gesundbrunnen district, where a spa existed in 1760. But once Berliners left the safe area of pools and beer gardens behind, they felt they were out in the wild. Since the Middle Ages, Wedding had been referred to as a ‘desert’, a wild place for demons. And there were witnesses (or accomplices). Dorothea Steffin, a miller’s daughter who had been imprisoned for her ‘negligent moral conduct’ in 1728 confessed to having met Satan in Wedding, looking like a ‘well-shaped gentleman’.
Controversies — or potential controversies — exist all around us, all the time. But a single place can sometimes become a lightning rod for all of this pent up energy. Think of prostitution, for example. I think it’s safe to assume that the oldest profession has, well, professionals, just about everywhere. But by bringing prostitution out into the light, Bangkok’s red light districts have given us a focal point for all of the sex trade’s many complexities.
VoiceMap is a Woodstock-based startup that combines storytelling and technology to produce remarkable audio tours. Our platform brings together an innovative CMS and easy to use mobile apps, establishing a platform and marketplace for this fast-growing medium. Tech is central to what we do, but we believe in putting the story first. And while the most obvious application for VoiceMap is walking tours, we also publish fictional audio dramas and site-specific soundscapes. We like to experiment. Continue reading “We’re Hiring: Audio Tour Script Editor” »
We are looking for a digital marketing lead to grow our user base and increase conversions. Experience driving mobile app installs using a variety of organic and paid channels is especially important. You’ll need to have run extremely cost efficient search, retargeting and social campaigns in the past, and possess a strong track record in ASO and SEO, along with email, content and affiliate marketing. This is a position for an enthusiastic growth hacker who can help us to understand and segment our users better. Advanced Google Analytics and Excel skills are a must, as is experience with surveys and A/B testing. Continue reading “We’re Hiring: Growth Marketing Manager” »
Position: Junior Sound Designer Starting Date: Immediately Salary: Market related
VoiceMap is a Cape Town-based startup that combines storytelling and technology to produce remarkable, immersive audio tours. Our platform brings together an online publishing tool and easy to use mobile apps, establishing a marketplace for this new, fast-growing medium. While the most obvious application for VoiceMap is walking tours, we also publish fictional audio dramas that unfold over the course of a short walk and site-specific soundscapes. We like to experiment.Continue reading “We’re Hiring: Junior Dialogue Editor” »
Creating a walking tour with VoiceMap is easy and lots of fun, but there are also a few new things to be learned. Recording the best possible quality audio for your walk will mean more people enjoying and sharing your route. Remember, during a walk, your voice is all they have! This tutorial will help you to create the best possible audio using your iOS device.
Installing a Voice Recorder
1. Go to the iTunes store and download Recordium (free).
There are a few things you can do to maximise the effectiveness of a link to your audio tour so that it helps bring in search traffic from Google. Think of this post as a very brief beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Keywords are key
The text that you use to link to your audio tour in an article, blog post, or press release influences how easily people find your tour in a Google search. Using a plain URL (www.voicemap.me, for instance) or the word “here” does very little to help people find your tour using Google. Instead, try and identify the most effective link text.
There are plenty of different types of promotional content that will help you boost your audio tour’s sales. Read on for four that are effective and easy to create.
Q&As are a great way to communicate a bit about who you are, why you created your audio tour, and what people will get out of the experience. They’re also quick to put together, and often easier to get published elsewhere than press releases.
We’ve come up with a handful of questions to save you time (and spare you the awkwardness of having a Q&A session with yourself!) Answer the questions that appeal most, add an introductory sentence or two, and you’re ready to send the finished product to blogs or publications that may like to publish it. Don’t forget to add a link to your tour on appropriate keywords.
In Cape Town, the locations along several of our city centre routes are intriguingly marked with geotag-shaped stickers, and it really gets people talking. The stickers invite passers-by to “listen to stories from the District Six Museum” – or The Book Lounge, or Mogalakwena Gallery – and list a couple of the audio walks that feature this particular location, with instructions for downloading them.
The businesses and organisations we approach are generally thrilled to hear that they are already included (at no cost) in the commentary of a walk that passes right by their door. In those cases, placing a custom-made sticker in their window is a win-win situation – assuming that the commentary is flattering, of course.
Location-aware audio connects a voice to a place. The real trick is finding ways to inform people that the voice – and the story – exists. Stickers, posters and signage are among the most effective ways of doing that.
Audio tour apps are exciting and new, so getting websites and other publications to run a press release or article about yours shouldn’t be difficult. Press releases are a great way of communicating to specific audiences, and editors are often happy to have the work taken out of writing something themselves.
We’ve done our best to take some of the work out of the process for you, too. Read on to find plenty of examples from press releases – which you can reword to reflect your own personality – along with the four essential questions that a press release promoting your audio tour should answer.
If you’ve ever shared something you created online, you’ll probably have experienced the positive network effects for yourself. But how do you go beyond your personal sphere of influence, and into the world? VoiceMap’s major sources of both visitors and customers are Facebook and Twitter, and here we give you a few tips on how to optimize your interactions on social media.