Jane Follow the Fellows: Detroit Mobile Audio Tour Update and Inspirations

This is a guest blog post by 2012 SoundCloud  Fellow Detroit Mobile Audio Tour who wants to share a little more info about the launch of her tour and other inspirational audio tour guides worth checking out!

Starting on October 26th, the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour will enable participants to go to a handful of interesting places in Detroit and use their phones to listen to the story behind those places. You could call it a place-based audio project or an exercise in location-based storytelling – but no matter what you call it, the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour is not the first project of this kind. We owe credit, at least in part, to the museum audio tour, and those that have taken that model to the next level.

List of sites so far:

The projects featured here all have found ways to help listeners engage with audio stories that are linked to a physical spot. A lot of times these projects take users out into the real world – in a neighborhood, on a corner, at a historic site. Participants can use iPods, cell phones or smart phones to hear stories about where they are. These projects often help participants create audio content that is then tied to a particular place.  For example, participants may be able to leave place-related voicemail messages, which will then be tagged to a spot on a map.

As the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour project has shifted from an idea to a work-in-progress, we’ve been studying the place-based storytelling projects that have come before us. We encourage you to take a look at them and think about how they work. Maybe they will inspire you to create your own project.

Audissey Guides
“The evolution of paper guidebooks.” Using mp3 audio files which you can download from the internet to your iPod or phone, Audissey Guides leads you through city walking tours and to places off the beaten path for free. Be sure to check out How to Make an Audio Tour: Ten Tips from Audissey Guide Pioneer Rob Pyles.

Hackney Hear
Hackney Hear is a free app that triggers GPS-tagged audio. As a user walks around the London borough of Hackney, they hear stories from local residents, musicians and writers.

The Place + Memory Project
This project uses people’s memories and stories to recreate places that no longer exist. One more thing, the project’s creators, members of an organization called Big Shed, created a spin off project called, I kid you not, the “Poop + Memory Project.”  Intrigued?  You should be.  The crowd-sourced project has stopped taking submissions but you can listen to the content they acquired by going here.

The Sammamish River Story Line

In this project, the public was invited to go to a river trail in the Seattle area, find spots on a map, and use their cell phones to listen to stories about people who live and work near those spots on the trail. Participants were also invited to share their own stories by leaving a voicemail message which will eventually end up online. On the trail itself, stories were marked by lawn signs, stuck in the ground. What we love about this project is that it seems fairly replicable.

Talk to the Station
Talk to the Station gives participants a chance to share what they would like to see happen to what is arguably Detroit’s most notorious abandoned building, Michigan Central Station, also one of the locations that will be featured on the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour.

To see our complete list of projects that inspire us follow this link.  There you can check out more projects and let us know what we missed!

  • RM

    We have a similar project that’s been running in Toronto for a little while, but I really like how this project gives the listeners a lot more options when it comes to utilizing the content (and how to access the content in the first place) That and when you consider the history of Detroit recently and music long-term across many genres and how it ties in to the infrastructure (from motown to techno) there are a wealth of possibilities to explore here. Looking forward to my annual trip down to the motor city to check out more.

    http://soundcloud.com/viciousminuteshour

  • http://www.theorionsky.com/ billcarroll

    Please don’t include videos that auto play in your posts. Thanks.