Are you living in a new place? Or just hoping to learn more about your current town? Today Cool Websites and Apps points out five apps that are perfect for exploring and learning about your city.
From user-created walks to photos from history to places you can find free fruit, the web has all kinds of information that can make getting to know any city a lot more fun. Let’s get started with a nice walk, and keep exploring from there.
Routes.guide (iOS): Walking Routes for Any City
The best way to get to know your city is to get out there, on foot, and explore. If you want a curated route, however, Routes.guide is worth checking out. This iPhone app offers walks created by locals, complete with routes and reviews for food and other things to do along the way.
If you want a quick adventure without having to design it yourself, this app gives you a few options. Get out there!
Download: Routes.Gguide for iOS (Free)
Falling Fruit: Find Fruit to Glean in Your City
Sometimes exploring isn’t fun without some reason for the exploration, which is part of what makes looking for Geocaches such a relaxing way for geeks to spend an afternoon outside. But if you want more of a reward for your walk than your signature in a log book, consider Falling Fruit. This website points to fruit trees growing in your neighborhood, so you can find something to potentially glean.
Some of these trees are on public land, and as such fair game for you to pick. Others are on private property, and while owners will often leave a note on the site telling people to go ahead and harvest, you should probably still ask before you pick. It’s a great way to get outside, meet people, and potentially find some fruit to turn into a sauce or a pie.
History Pin: Photos from History, Mapped
We’ve talked about how census data can tell you a story that you cannot see, but sometimes the best way to bring history alive is to actually see it. History Pin collects historic photos from a number of different sources and lets you browse them on a map. You can even see the images imposed over their current context by the magic of Google Street View.
Go ahead and dive into what your new neighborhood looked like a long time ago. Seeing this pictures will make you feel more connected with the area, and could give you something to talk about with longtime locals, so dive in. Then get out there and find those old buildings.
Wiman (iOS, Android): Find WiFi Near You
Maybe fruits and photos aren’t enough to get you out of the house, but what about Internet access? Yes, you have that at home, but if you need to get some work done sometimes leaving the house is key. Wiman is a WiFi manager that offers you a map full of nearby WiFi connections.
Verified connections are green, meaning there’s a good chance you can connect to it. It’s great if you’re living without a data plan, or just want to use your laptop away from the house.
There are other geeky ways to explore your surroundings, of course, like finding dead drop file storage.
Get There Dry: Avoid Rain While Riding, Walking, or Biking
If you’re going outside, you need to know about the weather. Get There Dry is a site that offers motorcycle, biking and walking directions with a unique feature: the ability to time your trip so that you can avoid rain. Just get directions, using Google Maps. Below the usual instructions you’ll find a way to tweak your timing.
You’ll see the weather both at your departure point and where you hope to arrive, with conditions laid out at both. If leaving now means walking in rain, change your departure time until that’s not true. If you live somewhere it rains often, this could keep you dry, so keep it bookmarked.
What Sites and Apps Do You Use to Explore?
This column aims to point out tools that MakeUseOf somehow hasn’t covered yet, meaning a few obvious things are missing. That’s okay: I’d like to hear about them, from you. Please point out any great ways to learn about your city in the comments below.
We’ve all got tools we turn to when we get to a new place. For me, a key one is Transit App, which tells you when the next bus or train will show up. I’m yet to end up anywhere it doesn’t work. And there are tools to find nearby people with similar interests, and Google Maps includes more than a few features for exploring new places. There’s a lot of tech that makes going outside just a little bit better, and I can’t wait to hear about more in the comments below.