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Hudson Valley Press

November 27th, 2013

Walkway, Marist, NYS Parks and IBM Launch Mobile Web Tour at Park

Marist College students join in celebrating the launch of Walkway’s Mobile Web Tour.
POUGHKEEPSIE - Representatives from Walkway Over the Hudson, Marist College, NYS Parks and IBM gathered at Walkway State Park’s eastern entrance on Monday to launch the Walkway Over the Hudson Mobile Web Tour, an interactive multimedia, multilingual resource that park visitors can access with their smart phones.  The tour provides Quick Response (QR) codes on many of the interpretative signs placed along the Walkway expanse with updated and new audio information via smart devices in English and Spanish.

The event, which included a live demonstration of the technology by Marist IT students and Walkway’s volunteer Ambassadors, featured remarks from each of the partners, including:
Elizabeth Waldstein Hart, Executive Director, Walkway Over the Hudson; Bill Thirsk, Vice President and CIO, Marist College; Steve Oakes, Park Manager, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park; and, Sheila Appel, U.S. East Region Manager for Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM.

“This day represents the culmination of nearly two years of innovative work between Walkway Over the Hudson and committed partners from Marist, IBM, and New York State Parks,” said Ms. Waldstein-Hart. “The Walkway Web Tour will provide Walkway’s nearly 500,000 annual visitors will a great new connection to a wealth of local and regional cultural resources as well as provide them will valuable links to other tourism and hospitality venues throughout the Hudson Valley. We believe this will prove to be a boon to area tourism.”

“The Mobile Web Tour represents a wonderfully innovative, cost effective, and interactive means to provide historical, cultural and environmental information to park visitors.  Park patrons will now have at their fingertips a wealth of customizable content to enrich their visit and help them better understand and appreciate the context of what they see from the Walkway deck,”  said Mr. Oakes, Park Manager.

“Marist is proud of the work that our advanced technology platform and know-how helped enable, through its strong partnerships with the Walkway, New York State Parks, and IBM,” said Mr. Thirsk. “The Mobile Web Tour uses technology to enrich the visitor experience at this unique park, while also encouraging people to take advantage of the many other diverse attractions that our region has to offer.”

“IBM is delighted to have been involved in the early stages of development through our services grant and consultation with our experts,” said Sheila Appel.

In partnership with Marist College, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, and IBM, Walkway Over the Hudson developed the Mobile Web Tour, which will provide users with access to information on: historic sites, trails, events, arts, dining & lodging, the Walkway organization, and other New York State Parks. The system will allow access to a wealth of updated information on mobile devices via QR (quick response) codes posted on numerous informational signs posted along the Walkway. It is the first tour of its kind to be deployed in New York State Parks.

Walkway Ambassadors Kathy Smith and Chris Rohrbach worked closely with the Marist IT Department to bring the Mobile Web Tour to fruition.

Ms. Waldstein-Hart also noted that many others contributed to the project, including:
Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt of Children’s Media Project; Marist’s IT and the Spanish Language Departments; Lou Santiago and Marist interns; NY State Parks Bureau of Historic Sites, Austin O’Brien, Ed Yetto, and  Audrey Nieson; Dutchess County Historian Will Tatum; and Voice contributors, Paul Tesoro and Angela Henry.

The product of two years of development with early concept contributions from the Children’s Media Project, the Mobile Web Tour connects visitors with engaging content to enrich their understanding of the Walkway and its history, while enriching their overall experience in the Greater Walkway Region by connecting them to nearby walking/hiking trails, dining and lodging options, other local, state, and federal parks, and cultural and other tourist attractions.

The Mobile Web tour is designed to be easily accessible to a broad range of visitors (launching with English and Spanish, with Mandarin scheduled to be added in 2014). It is designed to allow for easy editing and addition of content, and provide better insights into visitor interests via user analytics.

For more information, visit

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