FAQ

What is geolocated sound and audio AR?

Geolocated sound

A soundtrack (or multiple overlapping tracks) confined within shapes on the map, which creates geofenced areas. These will trigger content when your listeners physically walk inside, using GPS or iBeacon technology. Layer sounds in subtle or rich ways, guide your audience, give them directions, surprise and entertain—a completely different way to experience our physical environment, a threshold where the magic happens ✨.

Audio AR (Augmented Reality)

Sound that layers and enriches the physical world without sucking you into your screen. Stay present, appreciate your surroundings in all its richness while experiencing the additional reality layer: learn about history, artefacts in front of you, natural environments, get lost in a treasure hunt, get spooked by a horror experience, don’t miss a landmark or an interesting corner in the city you are visiting, get guidance during an event or elevate your sport experience… 💡 the possibilities are endless.

Echoes Creator web app

What is Echoes Creator web app

The Creator is a geoCMS (geolocative content management system) that enables you to create locative experiences from scratch. There are some concepts to get your head around before starting with the Creator. The fundamental ones are Collections, Echoes, and Elements:

What is a collection

A collection is an audio walk, tour or any other experiences you create that contains a number of "stops" - Echoes. You can set a title, description and cover image for each collection.

Once you publish a collection anyone will be able to see, download and use it in the Echoes Explorer mobile app. We strongly recommend you write a good description of your creation and set a cover image, as this will greatly increase your exposure. You can spread the word about your piece (we even generate a unique QR code for each walk). You can also charge for your content. Get in touch with us to set this up.

What is an echo

An echo is a geofenced zone or a stopping point on a tour - you can choose the one that suits your type of walk better. Each echo can contain a number of elements which have media (usually sound) attached to them, as well as having a title, description and cover image. This content can then be triggered in the Explorer mobile app when a user physically gets inside and triggers the geolocated response.

Echoes can be circles or polygons. Polygons allow more flexibility with triggering, but circles allow you to use spatialization (getting louder towards the centre).

There are a few additional echoes settings options:

Hide player: stops the user from manually playing or pausing the sound
Hide zone: hides the zone from the map, so users can’t see it or bring up details

What is a line

Lines are currently for testing your creations. Add a new line by drawing one on the map using the line tool, making sure it passes through some of your echoes. Click the pencil icon to edit the line, and pressing the ‘play’ button will start the simulation of your walk along the line.

What is Echoes Creator web app?

Elements contain a piece of media. Currently, ECHOES Creator allows only sounds to be uploaded, and only one per echo. This might change in the future.

Elements have different options for setting their behaviour:

Play loop: the sound loop while the listener is inside an echo
Play complete: the sound will play to the end, even if the listener leaves the particular echo
Play once: the sound will only play once, even if the user reenters the particular echo
Spatialization: only applies to circle echoes – the sound gets louder towards the centre

How do I add content?

Creating a walk

Start by creating a collection (aka audio walk) in the Creator web app. Choose a location on the map or search for a location in the search bar. Add an echo using the + button (or draw on the map in the more recent versions of the Creator) in the echoes panel. This action will add an echo and centre it in the middle of the map. Reposition the echo to where you would like it. Click the ‘edit’ button on the echo in the list, which will open up a dialogue. Click the + button in the bottom right to add an element. Then you can use the menu bar on the element to upload a sound. 

About mp4/m4a file encoding

We only allow upload of mp4 audio files (MPEG-4) encoded as AAC (Advanced Audio Coding). There are many sound editors which allow export.

A simple encoder is Macroplant Adapter, which is free, and available on Mac and PC. Just select Audio > AAC and it will output m4a files. Just rename to mp4 and upload.

Please just make sure you are not encoding as Apple Lossless Audio or Apple MPEG-4 audio. If you do, they are incompatible with android, and they also may not play back on the web.

n.b. There is a standards conflict with m4a. Apple defined their own standard which has the extension m4a, and the MPEG alliance also decided that mp4 could also have the extension m4a, denoting 'audio only'. So you can have two files with identical file extensions that are not interoperable – one proprietary, only working on Apple devices, and one open standard. So please be careful when encoding. Our memberships also support online conversion from most major formats.

Working with GPS recordings (GPX and KML files)

In order to get really accurate triggering for your experiences, it can be useful to rely on actual GPS coordinates instead of just our maps.

Recording your GPS and importing to the Echoes Creator allows you to visualise the exact GPS coordinates your device is reporting. You can then place zones directly on top of that path. Note that recording GPS on one device does not necessarily give you accurate results for all devices. There may be significant discrepancy because of:

  • Differences in GPS chips between android and iOS
  • Differences in GPS chips between different android devices (less so on iOS)
  • Line of sight to the sky
  • Weather conditions
  • Having airplane mode activated (GPS will work, but not as accurately in urban areas)
  • Lack of other signals (cell tower, wifi, bluetooth)
  • Time with GPS activated (longer is better)

You can record GPS as a GPX (or KML file) with a number of different apps. Try searching in the store for 'GPS Recorder' or 'GPX' or use one of the following: Strava, myTracks (iOS only), Kinetic GPS (iOS only), GPS Logger (android only), Garmin GPX (android only) and many more.

After recording and exporting to a GPX file, you can upload to the Creator by going to 'Lines' and tapping 'Import KML/GPX file' and following the instructions.

Video workshop on ECHOES

Get a really in-depth visual overview of how to create content on ECHOES with this workshop by LAStheatre, presented by Neverthere and Bath Spa Productions.

Soundwalking for Composers Workshop

An in-depth workshop on the creation of soundwalks, aimed at composers (but not exclusively). Organised by Sound and Music.

Right, I finished it. How do I publish my collection (walk)?

Publishing

Changing the Publish Status to ‘Public’ means the walk will be available in the ECHOES Explorer mobile app for everyone. We rely on you not publishing test material – we want to keep all walks as high quality as possible.

To run a test with a set of users, set the Publish Status to 'Private' and share the link to the walk which is available in the creator via the QR code button. Anyone who has the link and the app installed can open the link and it will open the walk in the app.

Having an idea and unsure how to get it off the ground?

Let’s chat and so we can help you get started

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