Application Name: Historical Marker Database
Description: Finds closest historical marker to your current location, brings up webpage.
Publisher’s website: Historical Marker Database
Version/date reviewed: v.1.0 / 12-1-10
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
When I first saw this app, I was pretty excited. I’d reviewed the main website before and really liked it, and imagined that this app could bring additional utility to the info on the website. If I had actually read the app description, though, my disappointment would have been a bit tempered; this app is really only a location-aware front-end to the website.
Figure 1: Start up the app, and it will launch the GPS to determine your location. If your GPS isn’t enabled, you might get a program crash message (I did). If you get an approximate location (from cell towers), and that’s close enough, click on “Go Now” to enter that location.
Figure 2: The web page for the nearest marker will open up automatically, with a photo and full text if available. This isn’t a completely comprehensive database, though, as it’s a volunteer effort. If you know of a marker that’s not in the database, consider submitting it to the site so that it can be added to the database for others to view.
Figure 3: A map link on the marker page will take you to a browser Google Maps view, with that marker highlighted with a balloon, and additional markers in the area mapped.
Figure 4: If you zoom into the browser map view, and can close the original balloon, tapping on another marker will bring up its balloon. Tapping on the link will open up that marker’s web page. Be prepared to be frustrated; the web map is very unresponsive.
Other issues: None.
I had really hoped that this would be a full Android app, taking advantage of all its features. I imagined an app that could provide you with a list of all the nearby markers, as well as plotting them in a native Android view. Even cooler would be the option to read the marker text to you, useful for those occasions when you don’t have time to stop at a marker, but would still like to know what it said. But it is what it is, a browser front-end only. Still, the database is cool enough to make this a useful app for history enthusiasts.