October 16th, 2009 by ejalbright
Pretty soon you will be able to visit Chichen Itza on your iPhone.
U-Tour, a multimedia company based in the Mexican state of Chiapas, is preparing a series of digital tours of popular Mexican archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Templo Mayor in Mexico City. The company has already completed a multimedia tour of Palenque, which is awaiting government authorization to begin distributing it at the site. The script was written with the help of the Archeologist Fanny López.
Founded by Rodolfo “Rudy” Laddaga and Alejandro Machorro, the company recently completed a tour of the El Greco exhibition currently underway at Mexico City’s Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts). Built for the iPod Touch, visitors to the museum can visit the museum, find a particular painting on their mobile device, and by selecting it hear an audio description including technical details such as name of the painting and year of creation, as well as contextual information such as where it was painted, what the painter had to say about it, as well as the views of the exhibits curators.
The two men got the idea for the company during a visit to Alcatraz in San Francisco. There, visitors are given a mobile device that plays audio about whatever section the person happens to be in. Such devices and programs were too expensive to produce, they found, but when the iPod revolution came into being, creating such programs became more economical.
In addition to creating tours for museum exhibits and archaeological sites, the company is also working on tours of cities, and has completed one for San Cristobal.
In an e-mail to American Egypt, founder Laddaga announced the Chichen Itza tour would be available early next year. “Last month we signed an agreement with CONACULTA (Mexico’s national council for culture and the arts) to start offering the guides in the main archeological sites, museums and historical places of Mexico,” Laddaga wrote. Some 15 guides will be available in Spanish, English, French and Italian by next summer, he wrote.
Last month Laddaga and Machorro received a United Nations World Summit Award for best e-content inthe culture category, and the pair also recently won Mexico’s Dell/American Express 2009 prize for the most innovative company among small and medium-sized businesses.
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