Once you’ve finished your line, the next step is placing location markers along it. When you do, you’ll notice a circle around every marker: these are trigger zones, and every time the listener enters a trigger zone, the audio file you’ll connect to it later plays automatically, using GPS.
Once the audio triggers, it will play until the end of the file. This is why it’s important to match the talk time with travel time.
When you add a location, it defaults to a radius of 21 metres, which is about 70 feet. That radius is the distance from the centre of the circle, at the base of the pin, to the edge of the circle. You can adjust the radius to a minimum of 15 metres, which is about 50 feet.
We’ve set this minimum because if you use anything smaller, automatic playback might not work. GPS is far from perfect, with a maximum accuracy of about 5 metres (15 feet) in ideal conditions, and significantly less accuracy when you get “GPS bounce”. This could be because of the environment. Small alleyways are tricky, for example, and so are the artificial “canyons” between skyscrapers. Actual canyons are a problem too. But GPS accuracy might also drop because there aren’t enough GPS satellites overhead at the moment, or because the weather is particularly cloudy. Oh, and GPS doesn’t work at all indoors.
Before you start placing markers, give some thought to the way listeners are moving while you speak. Ideally, they’ll be moving most of the time, unless you tell them to stop, and it’s often enough to point something out – and maybe draw attention to a particular detail – before you tell the listener to get going again.
This is a part of what VoiceMap offers that group tours do not: people can listen while they move, instead of assembling at a series of stops. We’ve also discovered that listeners tend to be more engaged while they’re moving. Stop them for too long – or too often – and their attention starts to wander.
You’ll need to place location markers for one or both of these two reasons:
You don’t need listeners to be on top of a location. You could talk about a mountain in the distance, for example, or a sign up head. But if you include enough detail, you can also be extremely specific, and point out things like a plaque on a wall.
Make sure you place locations markers wherever listeners need directions, especially at turns. Keep these as simple and as short as possible. It might help to imagine that all you have are arrow signs, and you have to use these to get somebody from a starting point to a destination. Put them at every corner, to tell people when to turn left or right, and occasionally use them to reassure people that they should keep going straight. (Read this for more on giving clear directions, at the right time and place.)
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