This step could be the most important part of creating a successful tour. And many of these suggestions could apply to a project using any of Google’s geo tools.
So, let’s start with the basics of planning a tour.
Each location in a tour is called a Scene.
Each scene can have multiple elements including: a text description; two different audio files, one for background sounds and one for narration; and designated points of interest that can include image overlays, additional text, and another audio narration.
Google suggests 5-7 scenes for a tour and that’s probably a good starting point. Once you have some experience with building tours, they can be longer. However, I recommend a maximum of 10-12 scenes.
Start by deciding on a theme. Don’t make the theme too broad or you may find yourself with a very time consuming project. For example, World War II is too broad. Major battles in the Pacific theater, could be better, depending on the events you are calling “major”.
Once you have a theme, make a list of the possible locations within that theme and then edit it down to a manageable number. As you are working, check to see if Google actually has recorded street view images in those locations. The map on the Street View Explore page will help.
Use a storyboard to design the tour. For each location, decide which elements (text, images, audio narration, and/or audio background) you will include in addition to the 360 image. Using audio will add a layer of complexity to your project and will certainly expand the amount of time needed.
Do your research and pull the materials into a single location such as a shared folder in Google Drive. As you’ll see later, audio files must be recorded outside of Tour Creator and uploaded as mp3 files.
Creating tours lends itself to a student group project. You can divide the locations among the members of a team and have each person research the location, determine points of interest, write the text, find appropriate images, and record the audio.
Students will have to work with one Google account, probably on one computer, to build the actual tour. Currently, Tour Creator provides no way to share the editing of a tour or to merge locations from multiple accounts. However, all the planning, research, writing, and recording can be done on any computers and from just about anywhere.
Ok, now that we have our planning completed, it’s time to build the tour.