One of my favorite parts of traveling is having the opportunity to learn about new areas. I’m not really a guidebook person, so I typically rely on tidbits of info from walking tours, plaques on the side of the street, and conversations with people I meet to string together info about an area. This week I came across an app that I think is likely to also make it into my travel app arsenal called WikiCompass.
With it, you can pull up Wikipedia articles about places near you. The app marks each place that has a Wikipedia article available about it on a map. You can tap on the icon on the map to pull up a small picture of what the Wikipedia articles is about. If you’re still interested, you can tap on it again to launch the article and read more.
I’m currently traveling in New Orleans, and here’s what the app has around my hotel (it’s a ton):
There’s also an augmented reality feature where you can simply hold your phone up and get that info overlaid over the world around you.
The app is currently iPhone only (or iPad, that’s how I’m test driving it). It’s also not free. A download costs $.99, which I think is worth it for a pocket travel guide but might be a deterrent for folks who don’t think they’ll use it often.
The idea is exceptionally similar to Google Field Trip, another app I used to enjoy but have used less recently. Field Trip, which is available for Android phones as well as iPhones, also overlays info over a map. Rather than just informational articles, it also includes restaurant recommendations and information about nearby activities as well as historical information.