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Archive for the 'guides' Category

Geotagged Audio Stories And Tours With Broadcastr

Application Name: Broadcastr

Description: Geotagged audio file creator

Publisher’s website: Broadcastr

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.1.0  /  4-25-11

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2

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


Broadcastr is a social website that lets you create, share and view audio files tagged to geographic locations; it’s free to browse, but free registration is required to create your own audio files. The iPhone app has been out for a while, and an Android app has just come out.

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The website lets you search by keyword, by categories, or by featured sources (UNICEF here).

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Search results are plotted in a Google Maps interface; clicking on a blue icon brings up the story in an in-browser player.

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In the Android app, the GPS will fire up to get your current location, and then the view will zoom out until the closest available geotagged audio story appears, also marked with a blue dot.

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Tap on the blue dot, and a pop-up will show you the title of this audio note.

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Another tap will bring up even more info; tapping on the Play icon will play the associated audio file.

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Zoom out in the Google Maps view to see more distant audio files.

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The Menu button brings up more options, like a list view of all audio files currently visible in the map view …

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… and the option to record your own note/story, pin it to a geolocation, and have it viewable at the Broadcastr site.

Other issues: Not sure how practical creating audio stories will be on Android, as they’re likely to include distracting noise and ambient sounds. Viewing local notes is easy now, as there aren’t a huge number yet, but I wonder how that will scale as the number of available stories for an area increases.

Final thoughts: Great app for creating audio tours, and personal stories about locations; I hope to use it to create interpretive tours for a number of local trails.




Handy Reference Guide To California State Parks

Application Name: CalParks

Description: Travel and info guide for the California State Parks system

Publisher’s website: California State Parks Foundation

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.1.0  /  3-31-11

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2

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


If you’re vacationing or exploring in California, this is a nice little reference guide to the extensive California State Park system.

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Starting up the app also starts up your GPS receiver to get a location; you can then get a list of parks sorted by distance from you (which I find the handiest), or also by park name.

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Tapping on the Map button at upper right brings up the map view, with the state park locations flagged. Tapping on the icon at upper left shows your current position on the map.

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Tapping on the arrows at lower left brings up pop-up windows for every park in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an option to bring up pop-ups based on distance from you, which would be more useful.

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Tapping on the pop-up, or on the park name in a list, brings up a page with more info. A lot more; there’s about 10 pages of info that you can scroll through for this park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Included is info about wildlife, vegetation, history, trails and more; there’s also a direct link for making campground reservations.

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Tapping the Explore This Park bar brings up a list of general guides and trips for various trails and excursions at the park.

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The guides/trips include photos of trail highlights, information, the option to get driving directions, downloading information for use when you’re offline, and …

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A map of the trail, with tappable pushpins that show the photographs corresponding to that point. If you’re hiking the trail and have GPS enabled, you can view your location on the trail as well.

Other issues: I’m quite familiar with this park, so I know that the list of available trips/trails isn’t complete. The trips seem to be taken from the EveryTrail.Com website (the developers of the app for the Cal State Parks Foundation), and they have many more trips listed; hopefully, some of these will be added eventually.

Final thoughts: Almost a model for what this kind of app should be; I hope EveryTrail gets the chance to make similar apps for other states. If you live in California, or are planning an outdoors-oriented trip there, this is a must-have app.