A Travel Guide is a web-based, location-based, mobile-centric application for randomly creating short, poetic texts in the style of the travel guide. A Travel Guide has as its goal to give its visitors an alternate reading of place, through the serendipitous juxtaposition of their current location with evocative procedural text.
Here's how it works. Using HTML5 geolocation, the web application determines and displays the visitor's latitude and longitude. This information is then sent to the server, which generates and returns a brief "travel guide" for that location. Any subsequent visitors from the same location (or anywhere else in an 8km × 8km area) will receive the same travel guide.
As more people visit the site, more travel guides will be generated, until eventually the surface of the planet has been blanketed with travel guides. The guides, of course, are not traditionally "accurate." You may need to try harder than usual to apply the information contained in these guides to the locations in question.
The travel guides are generated from a large corpus of text taken from Wikivoyage ("the free worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit"), the text of which is available under a creative commons license. The text generation algorithm takes randomly selected sentences from similarly-named sections across all WikiVoyage guides, rejecting any sentences that contain proper nouns. The texts created by this procedure have the familiar language and cadence of travel guides, but describe no place—or every place—in particular.
The text of A Travel Guide is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (as is required for any work derived from WikiVoyage). Hovering your mouse pointer above any sentence in A Travel Guide will reveal the WikiVoyage article that is the ultimate source for that sentence.
A Travel Guide is a 2014 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. for its Turbulence.org website. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation, now celebrating 50 years of the creative spirit of emerging artists.