It Happened Here has updated its catalogue today to bring rich information to users in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.City-jumping, history-loving, smartphone-toting nerds are getting a fun new tool for Android and iOS today. Location discovery app
It Happened Here shows users interesting factoids about locations close to them. Kicking it in Georgetown in D.C. and want to see the infamous stairs that Father Karras threw himself down at the end of The Exorcist? The app uses Google Maps and will show a pin with your location and a pin for the nearest events around you. Just follow the map on your phone and you will soon find yourself standing at the bottom of the steps of cinematic lore.
With a degree in history and the natural curiosity of a journalist, I often times feel that I am not getting the most out of a city when I travel. I know there are supposed to be cool things around, but I am just not sure what they are. This is even more true since I live in the D.C. area, a region with its fair share of interesting history. Playing with It Happened Here I get a good snapshot of sites to visit based on where I am standing.
The app is kind of like having a location-aware guidebook in your pocket. Legacy guidebooks like Frommer's have iPhone apps but they are nowhere near as intuitive as It Happened Here or Plnnr. For instance, the Frommer's app provides a tip calculator, currency converter and time translator but is not location-aware and the purpose of the app is to get users to download Frommer's city guides from the app store.
Plnnr is an interesting application in the location-discovery arena but, as the name suggests, it is more about planning a trip than learning the history around you. Plnnr is a tool that can help you create and track an itinerary to degrees of minutiae. That is the opposite of It Happened Here, which is probably better for more serendipitous discovery than for planning a trek around a city.
One drawback of It Happened Here is that you have to purchase cities one at a time. The initial download is $2.99 with each additional city costing the same.