Saturday, June 4, 2011

Navigate to Public Media Stories via GPS

When you think of driving, it's a natural connection to think of listening to the radio, and then to listening to public radio. But also when you think of driving (especially on roadtrips) it's also natural to think of getting driving directions from a GPS unit. Well, why not put the two together... like chocolate and peanut butter: public radio and gps units...

Has this been done before? If so, I'm not aware that this is a prevalent practice, but why not? Has this been a first? I don't know...

However, last night, I went to a recent post of stories about Childhood Homes from across public broadcasting (and beyond) and exported the listing of stories as a .gpx file. You can try this yourself, look at the top of any of the Published Roadtrips at the Public Radio Roadtrip site.

What is a gpx file? A gpx file is an xml file that is recognized by Garmin (and other?) GPS units.

While maybe not the most intuitive process (at this point) the pictures below show that the process actually works:

Download the GPX file:

Process the file using Garmin's POI Loader:

You can choose to connect directly to your gps, or you can move the file to your gps unit manually.

Once on your GPS unit, you can open the roadtrip and see a listing of the individual stories.

You open an individual story and ask your gps to navigate to this place.

You can also view additional details about the story itself.

One detail, while the urls to the audio are included in the gpx file, and even though the GPS I am using has the ability to play an MP3 file, I have not (as yet) been able to get the actual audio for the story to play within the gps unit. Further testing of this is necessary.

However, if we combine the ability of displaying audio with the ability to print pages containing QRCodes linking to the audio for a story, we have at least the makings of a process for "pubcaching" for combining geocaching and public media. Combine this with journalistic storytelling and perhaps theories about gaming, this could be a powerful process for informing people about their communities and points of interest, of engaging people who may not be public radio listeners, and for raising the visibility and value of public media.

Now that we are able to get stories placed on a map, are able to view them within a gps, if we are able to get the audio to play we could be onto reaching new audiences and creating a new format for discovering public radio out in the world.

No comments: