Augmented London – The New iPhone App
Bank holiday here in the UK today, so the wife has decided to paint the living room. I have been up hours taking down curtains, shelves and trying to get up the enthusiasm to take down my plasma tv before she tries to paint around it. Wife on the other hand is complaining about the shade of green paint she I brought. I’m told the one she I brought is the wrong shade. Green looks green to me.
It seems that no matter what city you are in, there is an augmented reality application to help you find the nearest underground station, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone decided ‘what about buses’, and here we have the London Buses iPhone application.
I avoid travelling on buses so fortunately the application also tells you the location of the nearest underground stations as well, subject to a upgrade fee. Like Layar you can also download other POIs to find interesting things around you, but unlike Layar the application doesn’t look extensible for you to build you own plug-ins, and again unlike Layar POIs are not free, if you want to find your nearest wifi zone, restaurant, Starbucks etc then you’ll need to purchase the POI from the appstore via an in-application download.
While there are other augmented reality applications that do similar things and are free, how does the application justify charging? Well there are a few nice touches, for instance you are able to see the tube status so know how the trains are running, or see what sights are on the bus route so you can be ready with your camera. Sure there is bound to be a free iPhone application that tells you the tube status already but do you really want to have 10 apps installed when you can have 1 that does it all?
Touching on the fact that POIs are chargeable for a second, I do think this is the way things will go. Free software only you takes you so far before the investors start wondering where the return on their investment is.
There is a bit of confusion over the actual integration with the bus routes, the home page states that it has all the main bus stations in central London. Bus stations and bus stops are very different things, I live near a bus stop but the bus station is miles away. Since one of the features allows you to type in an address and find out the best way to reach your destination, either by bus or by train I am assuming that they do have bus stop level information and that the difference in terminology is a cultural thing.
- The map includes the key bus routes in central London, and provides all the best sights and attractions that the city has to offer.
- The main bus stations of central London are available.
- Precise location of each station on the map (with a red circle), and also on Google Map.
- A bookmark manager allows you to save your stations and routes.
- The trip planner tool allows you to find automatically the best route to get to your destination with London Buses. Travel time is also estimated.
- Interactive map to choose your stations for the route.
- The route planner included in this application does not require a network connection to operate.
- The application locates the nearest Bus stations from your position in London.
- You can provide an address in London, the application indicates the stations closest to that address.
- London Tube Service updates (Live travel news) are available.
- The application is available in English, French, Spanish, Deutsch and Japanese.
There is demo video on YouTube, but to be honest it’s not that good. Filmed on a bright sunny day making it almost impossible to see what is going on and no commentary.
Visit the official website here.