Geogad.com is a Siicon Valley start up whose product is mobile travel guides. Each guide is a walking tour about an hour in length presented using maps, images and audio. There are currently 15 tours covering San Francisco, Vancouver BC, Savannah, GA and New Orleans. Initially the tours were available in two formats, on the web at Geogad.com or as a zip file containing a one page PDF walking map and about 50 MP3 audio clips. You load the MP3s into a play list on an iPod,other MP3 player or media player equipped phone, print out the PDF map and hit the streets to begin your tour.
Geogad's downloadable tours are available in a free ad supported format or without ads for $6.99 each. I didn't find the ads in the free version obtrusive. The tours I tried had only two 30 second ads, one at the beginning and the other at the end of each tour.
I met Geogad co-founder, Georgi Dagnall at CTIA. Georgi briefed me on a new product the company was working on, mobile web based tours. That product is now available from Geogad's mobile web site at m.geogad.com. There you can find all the Geogad tours in a mobile browser friendly format. Each tour is a series of linked mobile web pages, with each page containing a map or photo and a link to a downloadable MP3 clip with the narration about a single point of interest on the tour. If your carrier blocks audio downloads like Nextel does, or you don't want to wait for the audio to download on a slow connection, the full text of the audio clip also appears on the mobile web page. I found the tours easy to use on my mobiles, with or without audio. Each page is small (under 20KB) and images are re-sized to suit the screen size and page weight limitations of various mobile browsers. Navigation is easy, each page has three links, Next, Prev and Play Audio. The only improvement I can think of would be to provide access keys for one click navigation.
At this time only the free tours are available on the mobile web. Correction: While there is no way to buy ad-free tours on the mobile site, tours purchased on the Geogad PC website, will be ad-free on the mobile web too.
Registration is required to get full access to Geogad's tours. Registering is pretty painless, requiring only a verifiable email address and can be done on either the full or mobile Geogad sites.
The tours I tried were well done with high production values including crisp audio, useful maps and clear, lively, factual narration. If you are visiting one of the covered cities I recommend Geogad's tours highly, they rival or exceed the quality of any commercial audio tour I've used.
Mobile Link: m.geogad.com
Ratings: Content: Usability: