Monday, June 2, 2014

23 Mobile Things - Thing #17 - Connecting to Community

I tried two of the apps for my region.

The first was UpNorthExplorer.  I have a good time looking through the events listing until I realized that none of them were located anywhere near me (even though I know of upcoming events and festivals  nearby).  So, I moved on to looking at some of the other categories – dining, lodging, etc. – and found the same thing.  I was left wondering how the towns that were included in the app were chosen.  It kind of felt like something produced jointly by a number of tourism boards (Grand Rapids, Duluth, and a number of Wisconsin towns) with only those events included.  Or that businesses needed to pay to be included.  Since I live in Ely where tourism is a huge part of the summer economy, I expected to see – at the very least – a mention of the Blueberry Arts Festival in July in the events section … not there.  And neither was Land of the Loon in Virginia in June.  Also, none of the many, many lodges and resorts of the area were listed in the lodging section.  I stopped checking after I went through the shopping section and found nothing local there as well.  So, I guess this app is okay if it includes a place that you want to visit.  However, for a general guide to the WHOLE region of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, it has some big gaps.

The second app that I tried was the Highlights of the Superior Hiking Trail.  This was okay.  I liked the setup, but the information was not very in-depth, and I couldn’t find a way to zero in on sections of the trails (which makes it less useful).  Having the parking directions listed separately was a nice touch.  If someone was asking me for a guide to north shore hikes, I would point them towards Hiking the North Shore by Andrew Slade instead – which is available as an e-book, so it could travel along on a phone while you are hiking.

Another app that I would recommend for this section is Minnesota Museums.  I originally got it on iTunes, but when I went back to look to see if it was free (pretty sure it was) I couldn't pull it up again.  I did find the Android version listed on the Google play store for free.  Great for if you want to plan a little day trip or will be somewhere and want to find a way to spend an afternoon.  And, it's surprising to find how many little museums there are in Minnesota.

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