Guided By Tech

When in Rome, do as the New York Times tells you. A recent travel feature about Rome at Night comes attached with not only the usual multimedia map but an MP3 walking tour as well.

Great. Unless you happen to depend on the tourist dollar…

Riffing off a recent Wired item enthusing about a crowdsourced GPS tour of Namibia, Geoff Manaugh sees downsizing ahead for locals as tourists start turning up preloaded with everything (they think) they need to know about a place:

… You fly down to the Amazon to try ayahuasca, but you don’t hire any local shamans or native botanists because you’ve got everything you need to know already saved on a 300GB iPod – as if that might be the atomized fate of the West in general: desperately seeking visions, alone in the wild, surrounded by portable gadgetry.

“Your tradition is right here,” the tourist says, holding his Garmin GPS loaded with Traveler’s Africa version 8.02 over the heads of impoverished villagers. “I don’t need you anymore.”

BLDGBLOG: The Digital Replacement of the Natives