Osoyoos Museum to use smartphone app to let visitors experience walking tour of town

By on April 11, 2017
Kara Burton, executive director of Osoyoos Museum, shows one of the circular interpretive signs describing the history of Osoyoos. These will be the starting point for a walking tour that will be aided with a smartphone app. (Richard McGuire photo)

Kara Burton, executive director of Osoyoos Museum, shows one of the circular interpretive signs describing the history of Osoyoos. These will be the starting point for a walking tour that will be aided with a smartphone app. (Richard McGuire photo)

Visitors to Osoyoos later this year will be able to take a walking tour of the town using an app on their phones to enhance the experience.

Kara Burton, executive director of the Osoyoos and District Museum and Archives, said the museum is receiving a provincial grant of $19,000 to help launch the project.

Although she’s busy already squaring up details with the app developer, QuestUpon, the timeframe will be too tight to have it ready for this summer’s tourist season.

“The project we applied for is titled ‘GO’ (Gather Osoyoos,” said Burton. “Ultimately the intention is for people to ‘Get Out’ and learn about our community.”

The QuestUpon app is available on iTunes for Apple and Google Play for Android and it is described as “geolocative augmented reality.”

It can use interactive characters and stories, combining trivia, geocaching, scavenger hunts, animated and interactive 3D augmented reality merged with real world experiences.

Burton gives the example of looking at a building in real time and seeing an image showing how that location looked historically.

It will also be possible to tailor the experience to different audiences.

The existing circular signs in Osoyoos that highlight historic locations and other noteworthy natural and cultural features will be used as a starting point she said.

The interpretive signs are found at such locations as Gyro Beach, the bridge, Main Street by the town hall and the Osoyoos Art Gallery and the site of the old customs house by Osoyoos Elementary School.

At this stage, Burton is not sure exactly what kind of experience the app will bring when the project is launched.

“We don’t know yet,” she said. “We’re basing this on the existing interpretive signs, plus we’ve got some new signs in the works. We don’t know what shape this will take because they (the app developers) have got quite a few different types of programs that they do.”

Burton said she’s been thinking about the idea for about a year and first made contact with QuestUpon about a year ago.

“The Kelowna museum actually has a tour, a quest, called ‘Pigs on Bernard,’ which caught my eye when it was launched,” said Burton.

That tour also uses the QuestUpon app and participants do a walking tour of Kelowna’s downtown while chasing virtual pigs on Kelowna’s streets.

People who download the app can use it in different communities that offer various tours or quests. Some communities, such as Kelowna, have more than one. There’s also one in Kelowna for Knox Mountain.

A paper version in the form of a map or brochure will also be offered in Osoyoos for those who can’t or don’t want to use the app.

Burton said the anticipated cost of the project is about $24,800. The balance between this amount and the $19,000 grant will be raised by the museum in the form of research, advertising and “Look at you GO” launch events.

The provincial funding comes from B.C. | Canada 150 grants that celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. They are administered through the BC Museums Association and supported by Heritage BC.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

 

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