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Apps for Young Explorers…

February 19, 2011

The maps have been checked, the rucksacks are packed. You’ve had your jabs (ouch!) and checked your passport (do I really look like that ?)
You have a pocket full of unfamiliar money (who is this old lady whose picture is on all the bank notes ?) and a yearning to explore…
Maybe you’ve not needed any of those things, and you can still see your house ! – you’ve still got the chance to explore.

One thing that might be missing is the technology to be able to ‘capture’ your mission so that you (and others) can enjoy it when you return…
As phones get ever smarter, there’s lots of potential to make them into your personal ‘passepartout’.

Before you even start installing any additional applications you’ve already got the ability to:
– send texts and talk to people back home
– calculate how much things are going to cost in your unfamiliar new currency
– work out the time difference, so that you don’t wake your mum up when you ring her for a chat
– a camera / video camera to capture the experience

But if you’re lucky enough to have a phone capable of installing extra apps, you have the chance to put together a real mission toolkit to help you out in all sorts of circumstances…

Here are a few to get you started – if you have any favourite apps which we’ve missed out, please add them to the comments below…
All apps available from iTunes or the app store.

1. Compass (pre-installed)
It was there from the earliest days of exploration: a simple tool with the magical ability to point unerringly in a known direction, from which other directions could be calculated…
Your phone has one of these too, and it will tell you where you are, and where you are going – although you might want to ignore it for a while and try heading somewhere unexpected… Remember that there are also natural navigation skills that you could find out about.

2. Sodasnap
While on your travels you might want to send a postcard home. Now you can create and send digital postcards based on your own images and text with the free Sodasnap app. Send them to friends and family to keep them updated about your progress.

3. Mission:Explore
Before we go any further, you’ll want to get this essential app on your phone for over 1000 ideas for exploring the area around you – produced by the Geography Collective and The Workshop.

4. Audioboo
A free app which allows you to save audio files and publish them for others to listen too. Capture the sounds of a busy street, shop or cultural event. Why not record an audio tour of a familiar location as if you were seeing it for the first time…

5. Plixi – if you use Twitter, this app allows you to share your
photos with people who follow you, so that they can see what you’re up to immediately (you can also upload them to your Flickr account with the Flickr app)

6. Posterous – create instant blog posts with notes and information about places and images – works really smoothly and this is an app that I use for my 365 photo project

7. Geocaching – a little like a nationwide ‘treasure hunt’, geocaches are hidden boxes: this app know where they are, but there is still a challenge in locating them, and filling in the logbook to say that you have ‘visited’

Other apps that were on the fringes of the list:
myTour – QR code based app
Xoolon – keeps note of how far you have travelled by various means
Instagram – take and publish a photograph with a range of effects
Motion X – GPS – record the route that you have taken and share it with people – can also include photos and other media
Big Words – perfect for ‘labelling’ the world…

If you have any recommendations, please let us know…



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