Field Trip – Discover the World Around You!

by on February 15, 2013 · 26 comments

What’s even more fun then discovering new tech? Discovering new tech that helps you discover fun and interesting places around you!

Imagine if you had a best friend who knew all the best local places – where to shop, where to eat, what to see. Your friend also knew what concerts were playing and was an expert on historical sites. Pretty good friend to have, right? Now imagine this friend being an expert no matter where you went, and not being one of those obnoxious, know-it-all types. That’s a truly great friend. Field Trip is like having that truly great friend.

Field Trip is a free app from Google to help you discover what’s nearby: shops, restaurants, tourist attractions, architecture, museums, deals, nightlife and historical sites. According to Google, Field Trip “is your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you.” Field Trip is available on Android and is due to be released soon for the iPhone.

Here’s a video to inspire you to start discovering the world around you.

Field Trip Features

Field Trip shows you points of interest near you. You can choose to see places in these categories: Architecture, Games, Historic Places & Events, Lifestyle, Offers & Deals, Food Drinks & Fun, Cool & Unique, Arts & Museums.

You can uncheck any categories that aren’t of interest to you.

Field Trip shows you nearby attractions on a list and a map. The map view makes it very easy to see where everything is located. The markers on the map are color coded by category so you’re not trying to decipher a sea of meaningless markers.

You can tap on a site, either on the map or on the list, to get more information about it. When you find something really cool, you can share it using Facebook, Twitter, email, Dropbox, or text message.

The app runs in the background and you can set it to notify you when you’re near a place of interest. You can set the app to notify you frequently, occasionally or never.

The app gives you information about the site plus includes reviews from other sources, such as Zagats, TimeOut, Thrillist, Food Network, and Eater for restaurants. Atlas Obscura, Dezeen and Daily Secret provide information about interesting sites. The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations can show you where movies were filmed.

If you find a publication unhelpful, you can uncheck it in settings to make sure you don’t see those articles in the app.

If you’re a local travel blogger, you can submit your work to be included in Field Trip. The developer will review it to see if your articles are a good fit for the app.

You can see a history of what you’ve found using the Recent tab. The app will remember what sites you’ve been near so you can go back and visit them at a later time. You can also save favorites to keep track of your favorite places.

Last month, Google updated the app to include local offers from Scoutmob. When you’re looking at places near you, the app can show you special offers, such as a discount at a restaurant or a coupon at a store.

The app learns what you like. By tapping on the icon in the bottom right corner of the screen, you can vote whether you want to see more or less of that category.

The app does a great job of discovering fascinating things around you. Field Trip found an article about an unusual house near me that I always wondered about. The app also displayed an article about an exhibit at a small local museum.

History Buffs – This App Is for You!

If you’re a fan of history, this is a must-have app. The app identifies historical places and events that took place near you. The app will even give you information about places that are no longer around, such as restaurants, shops and theme parks.

For the Historic Places & Events category, the app uses publications such as Archaeological Institute of America, Hidden London, Hostorvius (historic sites of the world), Lighthouse friends, ComeHeretoMe (Dublin), Hidden City Philadelphia, and Abandoned USA.

One very cool feature is Historical Markers. You may pass by an historical marker by the side of the road every day but never have an opportunity to stop and read the information. Field Trip displays a picture of the marker and also includes information on the marker.

Talk to Me

Field Trip doesn’t have to be a silent friend. The app has a setting to speak the information aloud. That’s right, you can set the phone to speak to you when you’re near a place of interest.

You can set the app to always speak or speak when driving is detected. You can also set the app to speak when the phone is connected via a wired headset, Bluetooth, and/or a car dock.

My Field Trip Test

To test Field Trip I went on a Field Trip to New York City over the weekend. Within the app, I chose all of the categories and to be notified occasionally. I kept the app open throughout my trip. As you might imagine, the app was filled with items of interest, including an article on the history of Lincoln Center, a review of a concert at Lincoln Center and recommendations for restaurants nearby.

We were seeing a show at Lincoln Center and wanted to find a restaurant close by. I opened the map and pressed on Lincoln Center. The app showed us nearby restaurants, including reviews from Zagat’s, that helped us find one that looked enticing. (I then used the Open Table app to make reservations at the restaurant.)

Hidden Gem

If you’re in Midtown New York, check out the Burger Joint, behind a curtain in the lobby of Le Parker Meridien hotel. This speakeasy-like eatery comes highly rated for food (Zagat’s rating: 24), and the atmosphere and decor are charmingly at odds with its luxury hotel surroundings.

Battery Life

You might think that a location-based app that’s constantly updating you would be a huge drain on your battery. I am very pleased to report that this wasn’t the case. I charged my battery before I left for New York on Saturday morning and didn’t need to recharge it until I was back home on Monday morning. (I did turn the power off on my phone Saturday night before I went to sleep.)

The Settings of my phone also have shown that the app isn’t a big drain on my phone’s battery.

No App Is Perfect

Field Trip isn’t flawless. Sometimes when you arrive in a new location the app struggles to figure out where you are. When I first arrived in New York the app said “No nearby places of interest found.” I was fairly certain that was wrong, having previously lived in New York (granted that was a while ago, but still…). That error message also happened in my home town and in Center City Philadelphia.

Solving the problem is easy. Just open your Maps app and let it do the hard work of finding your location. Then open Field Trip and let it get on with its business of telling you about the cool stuff around you.

Availability

As of now, Field Trip is Android only but the app should be coming to the iTunes App Store soon. You can get the Field Trip App free for your Android device at Google Play.

The coverage of Field Trip may not be worldwide. I haven’t taken field trips with the app outside the US. The app is free so I’m hoping some awesome Wonder of Tech readers outside the US can let us know in the Comments section below whether the app works in their countries.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a free app to be your ultimate tour guide whether you’re at home or away, check out Field Trip.

Do you enjoy discovering what’s around you? Have you even driven by an historical marker and wondered what it said? Have you ever lived in a place for years without discovering a hidden gem nearby? Does the app work in your country? Let us know in the Comments section below!

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

Mike Maynard
Twitter:
February 15, 2013 at 9:46 am

Hi Carolyn,

This could be useful as users tell it places of interest. I do that on a website here in the UK sometimes. I give people a photo and then a reference on Google maps so they can find it. I’m thinking about doing a field trip blog, with directions and photos. Local people could follow the trail and take lots of photos in one afternoon. Many of the places that I go, you can walk from one to another. It’s amazing what you can see in this area just follwing a canal, if you know what to look for. In fact I might photograph some lock keeper’s cottages this weekend.

I’ve scheduled my blogs and they are ready to publish for all the weekend! It’s unusual for me to be in front and taking time out to do research. I’m thinking of publishing more short stories soon though.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Hi Mike, Yes, I think you would really enjoy this app. I would have loved to have used this app when I lived in the UK. Each town has so much history that would be fun to discover using this app. I would also love to discover quirky places in the UK using this app.

I look forward to reading your short stories, Mike!
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Bill Dorman
Twitter:
February 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

Burger Joint? Now you have my attention………

I’ll have to try it out; is it a beefed up (no pun intended) version of AroundMe?

Maybe it will help me as I try to pick out something fun to do for my upcoming 30th anniv……. :-) .

Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Hi Bill, Lol, yes, it’s a lot like Around Me but with extra cool stuff thrown in. I love the historical aspect and other information that I’m discovering around where I live.

It’s not on the iPhone quite yet, but stay tuned to The Wonder of Tech for new of its release.

Happy Anniversary, Bill!
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Aaron Brinker February 15, 2013 at 10:10 am

Carolyn,

Pretty nice app! I had not heard of it before today. I am sure it will come in handy as a parent. I know I am always looking for things of “interest” to see when we are out. Sometimes, that is easier said than done. I think this might become a favorite app of mine!

Aaron Brinker aka DadBlunders
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 15, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Hi Aaron, I look forward to you giving Field Trip a try. It quickly became one of my favorite apps. The cool stuff I find on this app is amazing.
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Craig McBreen
Twitter:
February 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Hey Carolyn,

Your own little tour guide … only if it has a sexy voice (I’m thinking Sofía Vergara -like ;))

I would be great to find a cool, undiscovered joint, like the burger joint you mentioned. I’m sure Anthony Bourdain featured this on one of his “Undiscovered New York” shows. One of the best restaurant experiences I ever had was a place above a gas station, no joke :-) Wonder if an app would find that?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Hi Craig, That’s exactly the type of place this app can help you discover. I’m really excited about this app and now am pretty much checking it wherever I go. Usually I find something new I didn’t know about before. Eventually I will run out of things to discover near me, but that hasn’t happened yet.

The voice is quite robotic, so don’t get too excited about the voice, Craig. You will love the app but not because of the voice but because of the cool places it helps you to discover.

Do let us know what you find, Craig! :-bd
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Adrienne
Twitter:
February 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm

This would be really cool Carolyn when you’re visiting new places and have no idea what’s around you.

Now I live in Houston and although I’m pretty familiar with all the places around me like museums, parks, zoos, stadiums, etc. there are plenty of places outside of my immediate area that I never explore. Not that I have a heck of a lot of time but it would be cool, I admit.

Thanks once again for introducing us to yet another cool adventurous app.

~Adrienne
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

Hi Adrienne, Yes, when Field Trip comes to the iPhone, you should get it for your iPod Touch. The app is free and I would bet you dollars to donuts that you would discover something cool from this app.

I was so excited that Field Trip showed me information about an unusual house near me. The building looks a little bit like a space ship landed in a field, I wasn’t even sure it was a house.

I’ll keep you posted when Field Trip comes to the iTunes App Store, Adrienne!
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
February 16, 2013 at 2:25 am

Wow. This sounds like an awewsome app Carolyn. I love to travel and discover new places, and I was thinking that this would be the perfect app to use when I’m going to Italy in September. And, hopefully it will be available for iPhone by then :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 16, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi Jens, Yes, I hope by the summer it’s available for the iPhone. I’m not sure what countries it’s available in, but I imagine you would be able to discover some amazing places in Italy using this app! :-)
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Amanda February 16, 2013 at 7:15 am

I’m in Spain and I can’t get this app. I found something simliar but it cost 7.95. I’ll let you know if it becomes available…

Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 16, 2013 at 8:56 am

Hi Amanda, Thanks so much for letting us know that Field Trip isn’t available in Spain. I hope it arrives there soon because it’s such a fun app, and it’s free!
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Carol B
Twitter:
February 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

I love the sounds of this app – can’t wait until it’s available for my iPhone so I can try it out. Do you have any idea when it might make it to the iPhone world? I hope before our Spring Break trip – then I can try it out for you in Canada!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Hi Carol, I don’t know when Field Trip is coming to the iPhone, but I sure hope it’s soon. Stay tuned to The Wonder of Tech for the announcement when it does happen. My research said that it’s soon but I haven’t heard the exact date.
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Ludwig Ericsson February 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Too bad it’s not available for me in Sweden, but I hope it will be available soon. It seems like a nice app that motivates us to stop staring at the computer screen for a while.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Hi Ludwig, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Thanks for letting us know about Sweden. I hope that Field Trip comes to Sweden soon, it’s such a cool app. I wonder if the developers are waiting for publications to offer their articles to them. Google already has the mapping technology around the world, so I’m thinking it just needs content to make the app available worldwide. Travel bloggers in Sweden should submit their feeds to this app if they want to bring the app to Sweden.
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Kate Kutny February 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I never heard of this app until now. Field Trip app sounds pretty nice. I will def. have to tell my husband to get it. We are planning on going on vacation this summer and this looks like it will come in handy. Great share! Thank you.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Hi Kate, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I’m so glad you like this app. You may want to check it out now, even before your vacation. Chances are pretty good that you’ll discover something new near your home.

Enjoy!
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Nicholas February 18, 2013 at 12:23 am

FIELD Trip sounds really awesome, and yes it would really be helpful to have it by your side always. I think irrespective of our background and age we all need help in going around our local place in search of new places to hang out. Considering the point that it can go wrong at times, it would be useful mostly apart from those unexpected ones. Thanks for sharing the post.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Hi Nicholas, excellent point. We may think we know everything around us, but there’s always something to learn, right?

I never found inaccurate information with the app, just that it sometimes couldn’t find me on a map. Opening the Maps app solved that problem every time.
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Tim Bonner February 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Hi Carolyn

The Field Trip app sounds really cool.

I’m hoping it will make it to the UK when it comes out for the iPhone. There’s places in Edinburgh I have yet to discover I’m sure :-) .
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Hi Tim, I haven’t tested this app yet in the UK, but I’m thinking it might be available there already for Android phones. Hidden London is one of the publications included with the app. I’m pretty sure that London is London, England, not elsewhere, but I could be wrong. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_towns_named_London_are_there

I hope that some amazing Wonder of Tech in the UK who has an Android phone could let us know whether Field Trip is available there.

I look forward to Field Trip launching on the iPhone. I will definitely post an update when that happens. :-)
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Josh February 21, 2013 at 12:41 am

Ok, I am sold on the app. I need to check it out, I bet it will help me learn a bit more about where I am at and help me discover some new favorite places.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 21, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hey Josh, I thought of you when I wrote this article. This app seems custom-designed for you! You will enjoy finding basic information, such as stores and restaurants, as well as quirky and historical places. I bet in no time you will become an expert on your new home town!

Hey, even if I’m wrong and you hate the app, it’s free so it’s worth a try. (But I’m not wrong, you will love this app! ;-) )
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