Portland-based Platial, the mapping site that helps folks tell the backstories about locations that deepen the meaning of “where you are,” just got a lot more mobile, now that Platial Nearby is part of the Apple iPhone App Store.
I got the chance to see a demo version of Nearby at Platial’s iPhone App launch party a few weeks back. And it’s a pretty slick little application. Nearby takes advantage of the location-aware features of the newest iPhone, allowing users to dig into Platial content that is pertinent to both where they are—and where they might like to be.
Like most mapping applications, users can find the typical “publicly available” information about locations. But with Nearby, they also gain the advantage of tapping into Platial user data—the stories about the spot you’re standing. That means litterally thousands of notes, images, tags, and reviews for some areas. Stories of personal experience. And insight. Stories that you don’t usually get, unless you have an actual person or two to guide you.
Long story short, Nearby is a virtual tour guide, providing the backstory for the world around you. And with the iPhone app, you’re getting that story as you walk through that location.
“This reinforces our mission to create the Peoples Atlas,” said Di-Ann Eisnor, CEO of Platial. “For two years we’ve been collecting information about all kinds of places that are meaningful to people; user-generated content that goes beyond commercial listings and into architecture, activism, street art, playgrounds, local history–things you can’t find anywhere else. We still have a long way to go, but we’re closer now with Platial for iPhone.”
Nearby is currently available for download from the Apple iPhone App Store. No registration is required, so users can begin using the app right away.
Well, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch with the 2.0 version of the firmware.
Have you tried the Platial Nearby app? I’d love to hear about your experience.
Platial is a free online mapping resource where people around the world every day share and discover all kinds of places. Anyone can map just about anything including their towns, lives, travels, feeds, files, photos, video, and stories in one simple interface.
[…] fit Platial perfectly, by immersing people within the maps that were being created. They were even one of the first companies to produce an iPhone app, Nearby, heralding what would become a hot-bed of iPhone development here in Portland and the Silicon […]
The Platial Nearby iPhone App is a good start, but not ready for Prime Time. The biggest problem I had was the map interface. They are using Microsoft Virtual Earth, which is extremely slow even over WiFi. This seems strange since their regular website uses Google Maps. In addition, the map interface doesn’t support standard iPhone hand gestures for zooming in and out; pinch and spread.
The second problem I had was finding information for somewhere besides you current location. Every time I panned the map to a different location no information came up. And even worse there was no way to type in a different location and find information. How are you supposed to find information for downtown when your somewhere else?
I would also agree with some of the posts in the iTunes store. Information about different places is very limited; however, I would expect this to get better as more people use the service.
Lastly, for some reason the app would occasionally just crash and exit.
Overall I think the app is a good start, but I think I would wait till version 2 to install it.
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