Mapping indoor tours

Indoor tours have a dedicated player in the VoiceMap apps, with their own interface specifically designed for places where GPS playback isn’t possible like museums, galleries and even wine cellars or shopping malls.

The indoor tour player’s user interface #

An example of the VoiceMap indoor tour player's interface
An example of the VoiceMap indoor tour player’s interface

The indoor tour player:

  • Includes images with every single location
  • Has on-screen directions to help listeners find their way from one point to the next if they move through the tour along a particular route, in a specific order
  • Displays a carousel with the name and thumbnail of every location at the top of the screen, allowing users to navigate without following a route, if they prefer
  • Can’t be started using the Resume option, which plays from the closest location, because without GPS this can’t be detected accurately

When the listener starts an indoor tour, a photo of what they should see when they’re at the tour’s first location is displayed on their screen. Five seconds before the first location’s audio ends, directions to the next location pop up on the screen, along with a photo of the next location and a button labelled “I am here”, which you can see in the example above. When they reach that next location – and they’re standing in front of the image displayed on their screen – they can hit either “I am here” or the play button to start playback. Then, five seconds before this audio ends, the photo changes again, and directions to the third location appear on the screen, at the same time as the “I am here” button. This sequence will continue until they have listened to all the locations on the tour.

A process map illustrating how directions are built into the interface of the indoor tour player’s interface

Creating an indoor tour in Mapmaker #

Indoor tours are simpler than outdoor tours because they don’t have be mapped out as carefully as our outdoor tours with automatic GPS playback.

Do indoor tours need a route line? #

Indoor tours don’t require a route line – and the listener won’t even be looking at a map.

In some cases, it might be helpful to plot a basic route line, but this is mostly to help your editor get a sense of the tour’s layout.

A screenshot from Groot Constantia’s Museum Audio Guide. The tour starts in front of the museum, follows a set route inside it, where you see most of the location pins here, then exits out the back of the museum. This line is not shown to users, but was a useful reference for putting the tour together.

How do I add locations to an indoor tour? #

Indoor tours might not use GPS playback, but locations are at the core of Mapmaker and for each point on your tour that will eventually have its own image and audio file, you need to add a new location.

The first location, at the start of the tour, is the only location that needs to be put in exactly the right place. The app still uses GPS for this, both on the starting point screen – to help listeners find their way to the correct location – and when sorting tours by proximity to the listener.

The starting point screen of an indoor tour
The starting point screen of Groot Constantia’s Museum Audio Guide, referred to above.
The whimsical map of Groot Constantia's Cellar Audio Guide
The whimsical map of Groot Constantia’s indoor Cellar Audio Guide

It’s also important to keep the locations in sequence. Listeners can use the carousel to play locations in any order, but on-screen directions follow the sequence, and explain how to get from one location to the next.

The exact placing and size of the trigger zone aren’t important. For simplicity’s sake, it’s best to keep these close to the tour, but if you like, you could map the tour out playfully, as is the case in the example above, from Groot Constantia’s Cellar Audio Guide.

How do directions work on an indoor tour? #

We recommend a set route for indoor tours – just like we do for outdoor tours – because you can establish context and help the listener navigate. On indoor tours, you help listeners navigate by providing the clear and straightforward text directions that appear fives second before a location’s audio finishes, at the same time as the “I am here” button and the next location’s image.

At the moment, you’ll need to work with your editor to add these on-screen directions to each location unless you have private access to your tour.

If you have private access, open up the location and scroll down past the script. You’ll see an entry field for directions. We recommend keeping these as short as possible to prevent them from taking up too much of the device’s screen.

The entry field for directions

How do I add images to an indoor tour? #

Indoor tours require an image for every location. These are a reference for the listener, to help them navigate, and they should show what the listener is actually going to see as accurately as possible. You’ll find more information about adding images to your locations here.

Examples #

To get a clearer sense of how indoor tours work, we recommend downloading one in the app and listening to it in Virtual mode. The following indoor tours are free:

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