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A satellite-navigated history lesson

By

December 6, 2007

Garmin Street Pilot c550

Garmin Street Pilot c550

December 7, 2007 Sick of leafing through travel guides planning your next tour? Now you can be informed about hundreds of historical sites without leaving the comfort of your car. Inspired by hand-held audio guides, the RoadTour SatNav application marries GPS functionality with a lesson in history, alerting drivers to places of historical interest as they motor through the countryside.

Developed for the UK, the RoadTour SatNav includes audio commentary, pictures and directions to 600 key attractions including castles, battlefields and historic homes. A simple low-cost add-on to your Satnav device or mobile, the application works with Garmin satellite navigation equipment, responding to satellite prompts as cars approach a heritage location. The driver is alerted by the SatNav and will receive at least 90 seconds of commentary and a photograph. The driver may also receive details including opening hours, phone numbers and prices as well as helpful information including facilities for children and wheelchair access.

RoadTour can be turned off or simply set the configuration to keep quiet. When you do want information you will receive it roughly once every 15 minutes when touring at 50mph. So even if you decide not to explore you will still have some interesting tales and trivia to enhance your journey. Commentary may include this snippet about Charlecote Park, near Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire- "It is easy to believe the stories of a young William Shakespeare poaching deer at Charlecote Park. It is reputed that he was given a beating by Sir Thomas Lucy - in return for which Shakespeare ruthlessly mocked Sir Thomas in a satirical verse which he stuck on the landowner's gate.”

Inventor and Managing Director of RoadTour, Daniel Taylor, saw a real need for Britons to learn more about their history and heritage - "It struck me that it would be great to have an audio guide in the car, alerting you to all the historical sites in the area". It took five years for the technology to be powerful enough for his dream to be realized in the hope that it will “tempt people to pull off the motorway or A-road and visit some of the wonderful sites which have helped shape Britain's history.”

Features
  • Works on most Garmin Satnavs (nüvis® with MP3 playback capability, zūmo™, and the StreetPilot® c550, 2730, 2820, 7200 and 7500) and with all mobiles based on Microsoft Mobile
  • Audio guides cover 600 of the UK's most outstanding heritage locations featured in visitbritain.co.uk
  • Comprehensive UK Pub guide covering 900 of the UK's best Pubs

RoadTour is available on CD Rom, SD Card, or as digital download from www.roadtour.co.uk and retails for GPB19.95 (approx. USD$45)

Historical data of a different kind has also been used to enrich GPS mapping on a more practical level when it comes to getting from A-B. Tele Atlas have included new information in their latest U.S. mapping data so your SatNav system can analyse 2 years' worth of historical traffic speed data and tell you which route is likely to get you there fastest at a particular time of day.

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.   All articles by Noel McKeegan
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