Recently updated, and looking quite snazzy, Globemaster: Offline Travel Guide & Utilities is ready when you are to make a winter escape. Whether you’re planning an exotic itinerary or just imagining a trip to foreign lands, this comprehensive travel app is a good place to start.
Tpo be clear, Globemaster is basically a clever repackaging of Wikinews, Wikitravel and Google Maps — all free resources used with permission. So, why pay for information you can get for free on the Internet? There are many reasons. (Editor’s note: Globemaster is on sale for $0.99 until the end of 2009.)
Globemaster is polished, easy to navigate and endlessly interesting. Even more, it passes my “airplane mode” test. All the information and functions (except for the ability to refresh news alerts) are available and work as expected even when your device is in airplane mode. This is one of my most important requirements for any travel app. You don’t want to get lost in a foreign country and find out your guidebook stops working when you don’t have a cell connection — especially when you’re using AT&T.
Other Globemaster features include:
* an intuitive user interface
* more than 260 countries and areas, and 1400 major cities and 4100 photos
* satellite view by country/city using Google maps
* information that is neatly categorized for quick access
* tip calculator with one-tap access to customary tipping expectations of your currently selected country
* currency converter with on-demand update
* “favorites” for saving tip and currency presets
* comprehensive information for each country including history, holidays, travel advice, reference information, weather, electrical requirements, languages, eating, staying safe, etc
* “alerts” from Wikinews offer international news and maybe insight about which countries to avoid
One of Globemaster’s features — the “neatly categorized” part — is what makes this travel guide stand out from the pack. The app takes information from wikitravel.com and separates it into bite-size pieces so jet setters like you and me can quickly find just the information we need at any given moment. The categories make planning for your trip a breeze. Wondering what to see, where to sleep, how to show respect? It’s all just a tap away.
Keep in mind that wikis are community-edited resources. Although generally reliable, sometimes you may want to double-check the facts. I found Granada, for example, had some false info.
The developers, Ivan Kerpan & Evgeniy Lebed, have done an excellent job of wrapping an intuitive, user-friendly interface around a community-created information. With the addition of the currency converter and the tip calculator, Globemaster is a practical and useful travel app that globetrotters won’t want to leave home without.