BuddyGuide 2.0: Experience and Share

ZollvereinSchoolInterior3.jpgIn the light of Martin’s recent posting about the Buddy guide project I’ve felt tempted to think the somehow great idea a little bit further. However prior to doing so let me first explain for our readers from abroad why I think the BuddyGuide concept is so well suited for the location of Zollverein:

As you might have understood from previous postings about the Ruhrgebiet and Zollverein itself the area (still) is a special place with a unique character. Once the Ruhrgebiet (and I guess there are similarities to other former industrial sites like the one in Belgium Mark Vanderbeeken has posted about) has been Germany’s industrial heartbeat based on coal mining and steel production right after the second world-war for a couple of decades. Accordingly the area was characterized by air and water pollution for a long time (which fortunately today is a thing of the past), mostly poor living conditions and dominated by up to 500.000 Polish immigrants from East Prussia and Silesia as as result from the “Ostflucht”.

However the Ruhrgebiet residents always demonstrated a certain level of pride for their work, their culture and their local dialect “Ruhrdeutsch”. Fortunately these originalities and their attitude have survived throughout the years even though “… as demand for coal slowly decreased after 1960, (and) the area went through phases of structural crisis and industrial diversification, first developing the traditionally strong manufacturing, then moving into service industries and high technology.” (Quoted from Wikipedia)

Therefore from my perspective Zollverein and Zollverein School today are somehow a “totem” connecting the past with the future. Consequently according to the words of the architects of Zollverein School’s new building “[the school] … was designed specifically to blend in with the other buildings on the former coalmine site, (but still) it has its own unique character”.

Having said this all I find the BuddyGuide concept is quite perfectly addressing these links between the past and the future by enabling tourists to get in touch with the area via the very subjective perspective of residents or insiders in the incarnation as BuddyGuides. However let’s push the idea even one step further … by sharing with you some things which happened to me lately:

Last week via Heiko Hebig I’ve been pointed to “jogmap.de”. Jogmap is a free site where you can save and edit your personal jogging routes beside sharing your favorite routes via blogs and flickr!. After all the site makes pretty much use of latest Web 2.0 technology via Googlemaps. I was wondering why I haven’t seen a similar thing earlier at any of the major running shoes manufacturers’ websites …

Well, prior to that some weeks ago I’ve talked to a friend who proudly showed me his latest gadget: The Garmin Forerunner 201 GPS (and I’m sure there exist several other gadget from competitors as well). The other night he sent me an email with a small attachment with a *. KML file ending. Since I’ve trusted him I double clicked the file and suddenly Google Earth started. What I saw afterwards in front of me (illustrated by Google’s satellite maps) was the complete jogging route he ran (our ways crossed while practicing) monitored with distances, pulse beat, interims, height differences of the terrain, etc. to be zoomed in up to 50 mtrs. Via GPS the Garmin tracked his route saved the data. The data has been exported to a PC afterwards and has been imported by SportTracks which finally saved the KML-file to be distributed.

Finally in late June I’ve had to travel to Paris and while searching for some interesting information about the capital of France I’ve stumbled across iAudioguide.com. iAudioguide.com offers mp3 audio guides for tourists who visit major cities in the world fro free. For sure I’ve downloaded the Paris-MP3 and listened to it on my iPod;-)

After all to make a long story short: You already know what I’m heading for? What if the BuddyGuides would be equipped with Garmin gadgets, recorded and published their comments and stories on the various Zollverein attractions on iAudioguide.com and afterwards exchanged their recordings via the BuddyGuide Blog with the rest of us? Wouldn’t this be a great experience to follow their route in 3D via Google Earth and listen to the according stories …

How close would this bring the Ruhrgebiet and its history, the Zollverein world cultural heritage as well as Zollverein School to you? Wouldn’t this be a great example of Service Design 2.0 (Interview conducted by the Danish Design Center with Simona Maschi & Vinay Venkatraman - 20 Aug 2006)?

In any case drop your comments below under this posting and share your ideas and comments!

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