Imagine taking a trip to a battlefield memorial and spending the day walking from monument to monument, reading signs about historical events. To a lot of people, this sounds educational, but not exciting. But suppose that instead of reading signs, you watch reenactments and interviews on a portable media player. As part of an interactive tour, the player also shows you maps and timelines. Also, what you see and hear changes depending on where you are within the park.
This location-based media player, called the Explorer, changes your walk in the park into an interactive learning experience. Node, a British media company, created the Explorer for use in museums, historical sites and other cultural centers. People have compared it to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and the Marauder's Map from the "Harry Potter" series. It uses global positioning system (GPS) technology to determine where someone is within a site and presents interactive information based on that location.
The Explorer's presentations are interactive, and they can include guided tours, images, maps, videos and sound clips. In this article, we'll look at the Explorer's hardware and software and see how its use can affect the tourism industry.