In my previous post, I blogged about how in the near future we might see the tour guide industry expand from a location-based vocation to one that might be expanded to include experts from around the world using ICTs.
Beyond the use of distributed experts to serve as e-guides, there are many possible technologies that could greatly enhance the tourism experience.
Using goggles with embedded LCD screens, someone could see projected onto their current view a recreated view of what a site might have looked like in its glory days. Imagine seeing the Colosseum full of cheering spectators, colorful banners waving in the breeze, gladiators fighting on the arena. Or a market in Pompeii with merchants hawking their wares in Latin, kids playing in the street, prostitutes beckoning to passersby.
These kinds of applications are certainly not far off, combining GPS, 3D imaging, and LCD projection.
A tour guide might control the images and sounds you experience as you proceed. For example, showing how the Fori Romani evolved over the centuries, as generations of Romans built upon the existing sites, robbed them of their marble and treasures and re-incorporated them into new buildings, until you arrived at the present more desolate view.
Imagine seeing Normandy Beach as the Allies stormed the Nazi front, an Incan religious ceremony at Machu Picchu, samurai and peasants bustling around feudal Tokyo! What a powerful way to use technology to educate and enlighten people about history.