Creating a city guide for friends with PlaceWhisper

PlaceWhisper is designed to be a platform that puts you in control of creating your own located content experiences to share with others. There's a huge range of possibilities for what you could create, and over the next couple of weeks we're going to take a look at some examples of what you could create and share with your friends and the world using PlaceWhisper. First up - a personal guide to where you live.

Getting started

I'm going to create a guide to the city where I'm based, Cambridge. Cambridge is a somewhat famous University town just north of London, and my plan is to create a guide of things I think are interesting to guide your from the train station, which is how a lot of tourists get to Cambridge, into the city centre, via a bunch of interesting things. This hopefully will mean if I have friends who come to visit they can at least guide themselves from the train station to civilisation if I'm not available to pick them up immediately :)

So, how do we go about this?

The first thing is to get to the start of the tour that I want to create, thus to Cambridge rail station. Once here, I can fire up PlaceWhisper and create the first waypoint on my tour. This first point will have a bit of text explaining what the tour is about, and where it's going to take you.

So, step one - having got to the rail station - I load up PlaceWhisper on my phone, check that the GPS has me in the correct location, and then click the speech bubble icon in the top right of the screen to create my first Whisper. At this point I'll get the "Build Your Whisper" screen, like so:


The first thing I should remember at this point is by default PlaceWhisper will just make a single stand alone Whisper, but I want to make a trail, stringing together a bunch of Whispers. So, to do that I need to click the "Change" button next to the "Available to:" label - from here I can change who can see the Whisper I'm about to make, or alternatively, place it on a trail. I select the option to make a new trail, I give it a name, and opt to make it public to anyone can see it. I set the trail type to Tour - this means that when someone collects a point on my tour, the next point on the tour will be immediately added to their map, so they can easily follow the trail points one by one.


Once I click "Create Trail" I can go back to the "Build your Whisper" screen, and see that it's now set to add the Whisper to my new trail:


Now that the trail is set up, I can add the content I want to be at this location. I can add text, a picture, or some audio, or any combination of the three. Here I opt for text - although I could speak into the phone to record text, I'd just "um" and "ah" a lot, so I think text is right for me here. So I type in my introductory text like so:


Once I've got the words written, I click the "Submit" button, and my Whisper appears on my map! That's the first Whisper placed, so now it's time to set off on foot to the next point of interest on my tour.

Keeping going

As you build up a tour like this, it's important to try and keep in mind what it'll be like for people following your tour. As I want to make it easy for people to find their way without knowing Cambridge, I'm going to make a point at each major intersection along the way. Thankfully in Cambridge there's usually something interesting near by, so I can be liberal with my points of interest, so there's always something to read, but more importantly people will feel like they're being lead rather than abandoned.

So at the end of Station Road in Cambridge, where I need to guide people to turn right, I create another Whisper, and mention that the Botanic Gardens are just across the road, and that we'll turn right and head into town.

With the second point on our guide done, we can now see the trail start to build up on the PlaceWhisper map:


One thing to note there is that I've set the map filter in PlaceWhisper to show just my guide. This is usually something you do when following trails, to stop you being overwhelmed by other content in the area. But it's also something useful to do when creating your own content for exactly the same reason. You can access the filter options from the radar button in the bottom left of the screen.

As I head into the city centre, I keep stopping and creating Whispers where I think there's something interesting to see, or where I think I need a waypoint just to guide people. Quite soon, my trail starts to look quite nice:


Here I've stopped at the Scott Polar Institute, where they have an interesting museum that's open to the public.

At some of the locations I add a picture to the Whisper just to make sure the person following my trail knows exactly what I'm on about. If you're in a crowded environment like a city, and you're trying to describe a building of interest, then a picture can often help single out that one building better than a paragraph of text will. Or, in the case below, which of the cafe's famous cakes they should try!


The things I do to help guide people around Cambridge...

Wrapping it up

And that's all there is to it - I can keep adding points to my tour for as long as I want. In this case I ended up with a tour that was 16 points long, taking in some of the more famous bits of Cambridge, and nicely guiding people from the Train station to town.


And that's all I have to do to create a digital guide to my town. Now anyone visiting Cambridge that has PlaceWhisper installed on their phone will be able to find the starting point for my tour at the Cambridge rail station, and then follow it. Here's the trail in full:


So, now you know how to create your own sharable tour guide using PlaceWhisper! You can create a historic guide to your village, or your own personal tour of the metropolis you live in. Once created, you can share them with your friends, or the world in general.