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Local Points Of Interest With The Georeader App



Application Name: Georeader

Description: Identifies nearby points of interest in the Georeader database, and reads out descriptions of them.

Publisher’s website: Georeader

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.1.1  /  12-2-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2

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Android Market link (mobile app only)
Android Market link (browser)


Yesterday, I reviewed the Historical Marker Database app, which is basically just a front end to an online database website. I liked the data at the website, but would have preferred an app tailored to Android that presented the data in a mobile-friendly  way. In a sense, Georeader has the opposite problem. The interface is far closer to what I’d like to see, but the database relies on user contributions, and right now it’s a bit thin.

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Figure 1: After starting up the app, and logging in to the database (requires free registration), a GPS position will be acquired, and your position plotted on the map. In travel mode, the idea is that you click on the Start Trip button, and as you get closer to landmarks in the database, information about them will pop up on screen, and be read out loud to you if you wish.

The first problem is with the map display. If you want a closer view, you should zoom in before pressing the Start Trip button, as the zoom level will be frozen and unchangeable after that’s pressed. That really needs to be changed.

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Figure 2: After pressing Start Trip, you’ll get the message that it’s searching for a “talking point”, a place of interest in the database. However, there’s no way to show the location of the next talking point, or set a distance threshold for showing a talking point. I had some talking points pop up when I was over half-a-mile away, others when I was just a hundred feet away.

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Figure 3: If you’re not in trip mode, you can scroll the map to an area, and have the local “talking points” be indicated by blue icons. There’s usually a 5-10 second delay after you scroll to a spot before the icons pop up, so be patient. It seems like a lot of points here, but most of these are just spots taken from the National Register of Historic Places database; the only text read out loud to you is the name.

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Figure 4: Tap on a bubble, and you’ll get the name and an indication that you can get more info.

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Figure 5: But for all the National Register locations, the only info you get is the name and distance. There’s a link to the National Register website, but that only takes you to the front page, not a page with more info on the site.

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Figure 6: Georeader wants to be a socially-built database, and there’s a function in the app that lets you add a “talking point” to the database, with a picture and text. You can choose to make this public, available only to your friends, or private just to you. You can also add and manage “talking points” from the website itself.

Other issues: None.

Final thoughts:

Georeader suffers from a problem common to many start-up social sites. Until there’s a lot of “talking points” available, there’s not going to be a lot of people interested in joining and adding their own “points”. But you won’t get more points added until more people start participating. If they could figure out a way to add the data from the National Historical Marker Database to their own data, this would instantly make the app far more useful. As is, unless you’re motivated to start adding your own “talking points” to the database, there’s not enough here yet to make it worthwhile. You might check back in a few months to see if that situation has changed.


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2 Responses to “Local Points Of Interest With The Georeader App”


  1. 1 dave

    Thanks for the review. You have some good suggestions. Different areas have different types and quantities of Talking Points. Some states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Oregon, Ohio and Michigan have almost all their state roadside historical marker already in the database for people to hear. Other areas (looks like you were in the New Mexico area) have only National Register of Historic Palaces in them, a couple of UFO sighting locations, and some historical markers so far. These were meant to be a “Starter set” of data and allow the user to hear something no matter where they were, anywhere in the country. It does rely on local folks to share their knowledge of the area in order for it to expand and the number of points are growing. The points people are generating so far are very interesting. (Somebody made a Talkingpoint about a “Bigfoot Trap” which is my favorite so far) All users are encourage but not required to contribute and we tried to make it very easy to do so either from the app on location or even from the website. It doesn’t have to be a historical fact either. You could even contribute some Poetry such as Haiku or even a joke (as long as it is clean). Thanks again for the review.
    Dave

  2. 2 dave

    “If they could figure out a way to add the data from the National Historical Marker Database to their own data, this would instantly make the app far more useful.”

    Ironically, the Georeader app HAS all the data from the HMBD (National Historical Marker Database) that was in their system at the time of upload (About Febuary 2010.) Their founder J.J.Watts,was very generous in letting me use it for this application. I did modify it to shorten the very long texts. Just thought I would let you know. Thanks. Dave