This is a step by step guide that takes you from mapping your route to testing the tour before you reach the audio recording stage of the process.
Mapping your route
Map your route using VoiceMap’s mapping tool and a desktop computer or laptop. You’ll want to zoom in as close as possible and map the route in satellite mode. To get started, select the “Draw Route” from the menu on the right-hand side of the map. Click on your start location on the map and at a secondary location roughly a block to draw your first line. This is the path the listener will follow so make sure to stick to the correct side of the road, keep to the sidewalk and don’t cut through buildings.
You can read this tutorial on mapping for more information: https://docs.voicemap.me/tour-publishers/plotting-a-route/
Adding location markers to your route line
Now that your route is mapped out, you can start adding location markers. Location markers are the points where the audio will trigger. You want to add location markers for content and for directional purposes so whenever the listener needs to turn right or left. To add a location marker to your route select “Plot Location” from the menu on the right-hand side of the map. Click on a point on the map next to the route line to add in a location marker. You can then give it a name to save it and then drag the location onto the route line by clicking on it. You’ll see a list of the location markers you’ve added appear on the right-hand side of your map. Clicking on one of these will bring you to the location on the map.
You can read this tutorial on adding locations markers for more information: https://docs.voicemap.me/tour-publishers/choosing-locations/
The next step is to start writing the scripts for each location. To start writing, click on the pencil icon next to the name of the location marker in the list on the right-hand side of your screen. There’s a bin icon next to it if you want to delete a location marker. When you’re happy with a script, select the “Save Location” option. If you select “Save and submit” it will send the script to your editor and you won’t be able to continue working on it. You would generally submit your scripts to your editor to review them and make sure they work logistically but we’ll be skipping this part for the workshop today so please only use the “Save location” or “Save with text-to-speech” options.
Remember the components to a great audio tour are as follows:
- A route with a few surprises
- A narrative that develops, establishing context early on and expanding on it later
- A climax that brings things together at a particularly captivating location
- An authentic narrator
Keep in mind that the listener is only using your voice to get from one location to the next, so you’ll need to include directions for each location. You only want to give them the most immediate direction needed, so it’s best to be as granular as possible. It’s a good idea to also read your scripts out loud to make sure they sound right for the ear. And remember, brackets work on paper but not for the ear.
Please make sure to stick to the word counts if the listener is moving. If you need to go over your word count, just stop them. There’s more information about that here: https://voicemap.me/tutorial/write/word-counts
We also have other valuable resources about writing for location-aware audio here: https://docs.voicemap.me/step/write/
Saving with text-to-speech
To prepare your tour for testing, save each script using our “Save with text-to-speech” function. This will add scratch audio to your tour. If you make changes to the scripts after initially saving with our “Text-to-speech” function, you’ll need to save it again by selecting “Save with text-to-speech” or the scratch audio won’t have updated. You can read more about this here: https://docs.voicemap.me/tour-publishers/save-with-text-to-speech/
Testing your tour
Once you’ve saved your tour using our “Text-to-speech” function, you can go and test your tour. You’ll need to download the VoiceMap app on your phone, log in using the same account details you used on our website download using the same account. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll find your tour in two places:
- On the Account screen under Purchased
- Listed in your city, if your city has other published tours. (It’s still only visible to you.)
Download the tour, plug in your headphones and start testing.
Once you’ve downloaded your tour, the files on your device don’t change. If you make adjustments in the Tour Editor, you’ll need to delete the old version and then download the latest version again first before you go out to do any additional tests.
To delete a tour, just swipe it to the left on the Downloaded section of the Account screen.
You can find more information like what to look out for when testing here: https://docs.voicemap.me/step/test/