The Field Trip app, for the explorer6/12/2013
A recent Nielsen survey revealed that now more than 51 percent of adult Americans own smartphones. It’s no mystery why. Web searches, mobile applications, social networks and much more supply its users with answers to nearly any question within seconds of being asked. But what about providing answers to questions that you’d never think to ask?
Location, location, location. No matter if you’re standing in Manhattan, Des Moines or Pohdunk, your phone is the divining rod to the undiscovered adventures and information surrounding you. Location and GPS-enabled smartphone applications host treasure troves of data, reviews and details on nearly every business, school, state park and everything in between. Yelp and TripAdvisor, maybe the most popular and easy to adopt for gadget novices, allow their users to search for specific businesses or categories for information. Foursquare, a GPS-enabled social network and discovery application, allows users to “check in” to their location and acts as a city guide to travelers looking for recommendations. These applications allow users to discover new information, but they’re mostly used with a specific answer in mind. What about an application for users who are looking to be taken on completely unexpected adventures?
For those hoping to discover the hidden, unique and otherwise random, yes, there’s an app for that: Field Trip. After download and installation, Field Trip runs in the background of its user’s phone, popping up at random with Web-sourced details about the user’s location. While the app requires practically no clicking, users can set their feeds to be alerted to only what might interest them and the frequency to those alerts. So a Field Trip user walking through the East Village of Des Moines might be alerted to the former Mason Automobile Company, which manufactured custom cars from 1907-1910, or updates on concerts happening that night in Des Moines, for example.
Maybe you aren’t ready to be completely blindsided by Field Trip alerts, but do yourself a favor and break your tired routine with the wealth of location data available through your smartphone. CV
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @ResponsiblyWild.