Mobile technology is making heritage tourism easier. With just a few taps on the screen of your smartphone, you can find points of historical interest near you. Whether you are in a new city exploring for the first time or you are in your hometown, there may be treasures hiding just around the corner!
For the last year, Historical iMarkers has been available in the itunes store for $1.99. It boasts of being the most comprehensive database of local, state, and national historical markers in the US. Data comes from participating State Historical Preservation Offices, the National Register of Historical Places, as well as other sites and users who contribute information. The site not only includes the historical marker text, but it also contains information about the site and links to its wikipedia entry when available.
The app uses your location to display nearby markers (handy while en route to a destination!). Or the database can be searched by a specific area, state, or route (handy for planning ahead!).
Image via Daily App Show
Another app putting history in your pocket is in the local news today. The Kentucky Historical Society recently released a smartphone app that connects historical markers, related items in the Historical Society’s collections and user-submitted images and stories to points of interest on a map.
The information is grouped by theme into tours. Although the KHS only offers a Civil War-themed tour at this time, it plans to add new tours soon. A War of 1812 tour this fall.
According to reports, the Historical Society says it hopes Kentuckians and local history groups will actively participate in this project by submitting images and stories.
The app, ExploreKYHistory, is free and the information is also accessible online.
Images via the App Store
I love this concept and wish that I used a smartphone so I could take advantage. There is no telling what kind of gems I’ve missed out on. And imagine how much more convenient it is to use an app like this rather than lug around a guide book – which is not only a pain, but screams tourist?
Are other states developing apps like Kentucky’s? Do you know of other apps like iMarker? Maybe an international one? Do you use these apps? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!