Nature Tourism Services is an Australian company that specialises in delivering innovative interpretive and visitor orientation design solutions.

Decades of experience in interpretation planning underpins all our project work. We connect traditional interpretation sign, maps and print media product with interpretive digital products including tourism webapps and PDF smartphone guides.

ian charles launch of charters Towers Heritage Trail

IAN CHARLES: DIRECTOR NATURE TOURISM SERVICES

The photo above of Ian speaking at the launch of the Charters Towers First World War Digital Heritage Trail on Remembrance Day 2014 was chosen here as this project drew extensively on all of the cross-disciplinary skills sets Ian has acquired over the course of more than 30 years working in the field of heritage interpretation.

This innovative project was a joint venture between Nature Tourism Services and the Charters Towers Regional Council. It relied on the good working relationship Ian had established with the Council going back over the previous eight years to ensure that the Council had the confidence to commit to the development of a new and untried product like the digital heritage trail.

A DIVERSE ARRAY OF SKILL SETS

A feature of Ian's project work is the skill sets and experience he brings to bear on any project. With post graduate qualifications in environmental management and planning, Ian has a firm scientific foundation upon which to base all his project work.

He used this knowledge set in his initial work as a tour guide for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Over the course of seven years working in this role he developed a hands on appreciation for the needs and interests of visitors to natural and heritage areas.

In 1987 he moved on from his role as a tour guide and commenced work as an interpretation officer with the NPWS. This coincided with the arrival of new desktop publishing technology and as a result he increasingly took on the day to day graphic design needs of his work flow. This included him developing specialised mapping skills to ensure key orientation information could be relayed to people in its geographic setting.

By the time he left the NPWS to set up Nature Tourism Services with his partner Marianne Walsh in 1998, graphic design and mapping had come to represent his core professional skill sets. These however were always underpinned by his extensive experience in planning, community engagement / media, project management, historical research and creative writing.

EMBRACING NEW TECHNOLOGY

Ever since its establishment in 1998, Nature Tourism Services has been at the forefront of technological innovation to ensure that it delivers cutting edge product for its clients. In this we have been massively helped by a similar commitment on the part of our signage and print sub contractors.

Whereas this innovation approach was defined across the 2000–2010 period by technological breakthroughs in terms of data handling and capability, computer nominated controls for manufacture and new vandal resistant outdoor full colour printing technology like UV flat bed printing, the time since 2010 has always been the decade defined by the uptake and widespread use of mobile phones and tablets.

RESPONDING TO THE MOBILE REVOLUTION

We recognised at the time of the release of the first iPad in mid 2010 that we would need to develop product solutions that responded to the opportunities of mobile technology. Accordingly since that time, Ian has added hand coding of customised digital webapps and websites to his core design skill sets. This has seen him undertake a major program of research and development with the assistance of our clients like the Charters Towers Regional Council and also the Australian Alps Liaison Committee. Most recently he has also worked closely with Falls Creek Alpine Resort to develop innovative digital design solutions based aroud the multi lingual capability of webapps supported by interactive PDF smartphone guides that embed content onto people's phones for use in areas remote from internet coverage.