Philadelphia’s Historic Neighborhood Consortium is highlighting some of the less well-traveled points of interest in the City of Brotherly Love with an interactive map that complements a separate mobile application.
The map, found at www.beyondthelibertybell.org, lets users click on a point and be taken to a description of the site’s history and other pertinent details. The map shows how the tourist industry has embraced mobile because it suits travelers who are on the go and usually have their mobile devices with them.
“I love the concept,” said Bill Rosenthal, chief operating officer of Ignited, El Segundo, CA. “When you think of Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell comes to mind and there are always other things to see.
“It’s a nice, simple way to highlight different places where you are,” he said. “These are the things that tourists really need and probably locals who don’t even know what’s in their own city.
“You could be walking around Philadelphia wondering where to go next, and click on the map to see what’s nearby. So you say, hey that’s there, let’s go there.”
An association of more than 50 cultural institutions, museums, libraries, historic sites and houses of worship — all located within walking distance of the Liberty Bell – the Consortium’s mission is to advocate actions that protect and enhance the historic preservation of the neighborhoods surrounding Independence Hall.
Its objective includes making the public more aware of attractions within walking distance of the bell, such as the African American Museum, Elfreth’s Alley or the National Museum of American Jewish History.
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of US independence that now resides in the Bell Chamber interior of the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia’s historic district, near Independence Hall where it originally hung.
The bell gained fame after an 1847 short story erroneously claimed that it was rung on July 4, 1776, after the vote for independence. Although the bell did not ring on July 4, authorities agree that the bell was among others that rang on July 8 when the Declaration of Independence was publicly read.
The Web site is a digital-age update of a brochure the Consortium began producing 10 years ago, which aimed to draw attention to attractions within walking distance of the bell. Both the brochure, which has been reprinted more than 500,000 times, and the Web site were designed by Parallel Design, a local firm.
“Across the board, mobile is becoming as important as and arguably more important than the desktop experience — and especially so for tourists and travelers,” said Aaron Horton, senior Web producer for Visit Philadelphia. “Having access to relevant, trustworthy information is vital for both on-the-street-visitors and people still in the travel-planning stages.
Map opens onto capsule descriptions of dozens of attractions.
“In March, Visit Philadelphia launched a new mobile experience of its website, visitphilly.com, after experiencing a 325 percent increase in mobile traffic over 2011,” he said. “This year, mobile traffic is expected to make up close to 50 percent of all traffic to the website.
“Interactive mapping, specifically on mobile, is extremely helpful in orienting visitors who may be new to the destination and allowing them to easily discover the attraction, restaurants, around them.”
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.