I have recently purchased the slimline version of the Time Travel Explorer (TTX) London iPhone App. There are two versions available: the slimline version (cost £1.79) or the pro version cost (£5.49). The prices sit neatly either side of the Lonely Planet Guide to London app (cost £3.49). This is relevant because both can be used as city guides. Whereas the Lonely Planet includes entertainment venues etc, the TTX guide appeals to the historians and map geeks out there with a series of historical maps and information. These have been seamlessly integrated with a contemporary map of the city and can be viewed by dragging a slider bar (see below).
The app is a big one- 355mb- and it takes a while to download and install. This is due to a rich range of content. The 750 points of interest have extensive written information, 150 have audio guides and there are 1500 images. POIs are shown as push pins on the map;
or as part of a searchable list…
Users can therefore find places that are in their proximity with the iPhone’s GPS or simply find a place of interest and navigate to it. Each point of interest contains plenty of info, and many of the POIs will be a pleasant surprise to tourists and Londoners alike.
Including historical maps is especially interesting and they have been nicely lined up with the contemporary base map. People may be surprised by how little the street network has changed over the past 3 centuries or so. The concept of maps from multiple time periods is really well suited to a mobile device as it enables people to go out and better engage in the area they are seeing. Looking closely can often reveal some evidence of what the cartographers saw several centuries ago.
The app isn’t cheap, but it is worth it if you want to add an extra dimension to walking around London. I hope that there are plans to update the app with more POIs every now and then to keep people’s interest once they have bought it.