Do you dream of travelling the world? Do you often wish you could visit faraway lands and enjoy the local scenery and views? I do too. There is no substitute for actually visiting a new place and seeing the sights with your own eyes, but most of us can’t visit every single place we find interesting.
Stuck on Earth is a gorgeous iPad app (with a brilliant name) that gives you the next best thing – stunning photographs by users from all over the world, browsable by location, tags, categories and more. If you’re trying to find new and exciting place to visit, want to know what other countries look like, or even find good and interesting photographers to follow, you’re going to love using Stuck on Earth. And guess what, it can talk, too!
Stuck on Earth is free to download from the iTunes store. Once you install it, you don’t have to sign in, open an account or do anything of the sort. All it wants from you is your name.
Don’t be surprised when the app starts talking to you. The app uses actress Karen Hutton’s voice-over as its tutorial/soundtrack. It doesn’t simply read the text to you, it talks to you, explains how to use the app and gives you examples and ideas. If you don’t want to be talked to, you can turn it off from the settings screen (see below about accessing it).
After filling in your name, you can choose whether you’re a daydreamer, explorer, photographer, or all three. This will slightly change the photographs the app will choose to show you.
You will also be prompted to allow the app to use your current location. If you do this, you will be able to easily explore your own hometown through the app.
The next thing you’ll see is the world’s map, complete with lots of pins and some random photos. You can either zoom in on a place of interest, randomly tap on a photo that looks interesting, or manually search for a location.
At the bottom part of your screen, you’ll see the filter icon. Tap it to access the different filters you can use for viewing photos. For example, you can view only featured photos, which are the best of the best, view only the top 50 lists for various categories, view only photographers you follow, etc. You can also view your saved trips on the map from here (if you have any).
Tapping on a photo will open a beautiful, full-screen image viewer. Now you can immerse yourself in the exotic place you’ve chosen and view the entire collection of relevant photos. If you encounter a place you want to visit or save, tap the “Add to my trips” button. You can create new trips or add photos to existing ones.
If you want to share an especially beautiful photo, you can do so via Facebook, Twitter or email.
On each photo, slide your finger to the left to reveal the photographer’s name and details, as well as the exact location the picture was taken. From this screen you can follow photographers you like.
Don’t miss the fantastic top 50 lists which you can access from the filters button at the bottom center of the map. These lists feature things like the top air shows on earth, the top Apple stores on earth, the top caves on earth, etc. The map will offer you some top 50 lists when you browse locations which are part of them.
One last thing you can do is search for photos by subject or tag. To do this, tap the small magnifying glass icon in the search box and choose to search for tags instead of locations. Now you can search for things like “flowers”, “cars” and “sun”, and find relevant photos.
Home Screen & Saved Trips
For some reason, the first screen you see when you start using the app is the map. But you actually also have your own personal home screen which you can access by tapping the small house icon at the top of the map.
Here you will find your trips, list suggestions and the option to explore locations near you. Your trips are available offline, so after saving a set of pictures as a trip, you can browse through them while travelling without having to worry about an Internet connection.
Settings – Or “How Do I Turn Off the Voice-Over?”
Access the settings by tapping the cog wheel icon on the home screen. From here you can turn off the voice-over, restart the app to change the name and personality and change your looking glass.
The looking glass is the circle that sits on the top left of the map. Try changing the looking glass and then return to the map and tap it. Each looking glass does something different. Try it to find out! (one of them contains an entire ebook)
Adding Photos Of Your Own
Stuck on Earth integrates with Flickr. To add photos, tap the small “upload” icon on the bottom right.
You’d need to have a Flickr account and some geotagged photos. After signing into Flickr through the app, you’d be able to upload 10 photos at a time to the Stuck on Earth community.
Stuck on Earth is truly one of the best looking apps I’ve seen in a while. The interface takes a bit of getting used to (hint: think in pictures), but all in all it provides a fantastic experience and some truly awesome photos from all over the world.
Do you know of some more world-discovering iPad apps? Do you want to share your experience with Stuck on Earth? The comments await!