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Destination Osoyoos teams up with Google to provide local Field Trip app content
Imagine that as a visitor to Osoyoos you could explore the town and have a message pop up on your phone alerting you whenever you’re near an attraction of interest.
Actually, this scenario is no longer science fiction, but reality.
Recently Destination Osoyoos (DO) became an official content partner for Google’s Field Trip App.
The local destination marketing organization has already created a number of “cards” for locations of interest and is in the process of creating more.
The free app was released for Android smart phones in the U.S. in September 2012, but in May it was released in Canada and is now also available for Apple’s iOS devices such as the iPhone.
DO has created cards for such places of interest as Haynes Point Provincial Park, Spotted Lake, Osoyoos Desert Centre, Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad, wineries, eateries and other attractions.
“When I first read about it, I thought this is exactly what Osoyoos needs to do,” said Brianne Hearle, DO’s marketing director, who is co-ordinating DO’s participation in Field Trip.
Hearle said that in order to provide content for Field Trip, you must be an official content partner with Google, as this ensures a level of quality and consistency.
She is, however, working with other people in Osoyoos who are providing information for “cards.”
Greg Byron, from Great Horned Owl Eco-Tours, for example, created cards for Blue Lake and Mount Kobau.
Kenneth Favrholdt, curator at the Osoyoos Museum and Archives, is also contributing cards for several historic locations.
The cards will showcase some of the town’s most iconic locations dating back many years.
Field Trip runs in the background on your phone.
The cards are “geo-tagged,” which means they are stored with precise latitude and longitude location information. When a person with the app moves near to one of these locations, a card pops up on their phone showing an image and giving a description of the attraction.
Hearle said there was a careful process to follow with Google to ensure that content met Google’s criteria, and some drafts of cards had to be revised.
Google, however, likes to work with destination marketing organizations like DO, she said, because of the quality of the content.
“They really wanted to make it very unique and interesting places with sightseeing trips as well as things like reviews or awards,” she said, suggesting an attraction such as an award-winning winery would have a card.
The big thing for DO, she said, is that not only will Field Trip provide information for people visiting Osoyoos, but it will also entice people just passing through to stop here.
“This kind of strategy is the sort of thing we have to jump on to put Osoyoos on the map,” Hearle said.
Field Trip can be downloaded for Android at the Google Play Store and for iOS through iTunes and the App Store. It requires Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher. On Apple, it requires iOS 6.0 or later.
BY RICHARD McGUIRE