Posted by: sommecourt | 24/03/2012

Battlefield Apps: A Review

The growth in use of ‘smart phones’ especially those on the Apple IOS and Android platforms have lead to a huge development in ‘Apps’ – applications – that can be used to help us in every aspects of our daily lives. Travel Apps are very popular and in the last few months the first Battlefield related Apps have started to appear and to give an idea what is out there below are some reviews of three of the recent ones.

Gettysburg Battle App

The first ever Battlefield Apps to my knowledge were produced for some of the American Civil War battlefields on behalf of the Civil War Trust. The one for Gettysburg is very slick with a good splash screen and an easy to negotiate menu. It works with GPS and there is no need for a 3G signal to get full functionality. Each area on the battlefield is carefully explained in easy to read detail and there are maps, illustrations and best of all short videos to watch (which are embedded in the App). These feature experts on the battle who explain very well the area where you are. I haven’t been to Gettysburg yet to test it out but as the App is free it is great just to download it and watch the videos and take a virtual tour. Well thought out and well constructed, and highly recommended.
Score: 9/10

Flanders Fields Memorials App

I came across this App being advertised at the Passchendaele Museum in Zonnebeke. It is produced locally in Belgium and lists all the WW1 memorials and cemeteries in the Flanders region; largely around the well known Ypres battlefield. It is a fairly basic App which is accessed via a series of lists showing all the locations. When actually in the area the GPS function of the smart phone can be used to tell you what there is of interest in your locality but it does this via online maps so it means using 3G and therefore incurs data charges making it less attractive for overseas users. The date for each location is fairly minimal and all the photographs are modern, with no wartime comparisons. A nice effort but too basic and the need to use a 3G connection is disappointing. The App costs £1.49.
Score: 4/10

Pocket Tours – Arnhem App

Pocket Tours are a new UK company and this is the first of their proposed Battlefield Apps. This first one deals with the 1944 Arnhem operations. The App starts with an histoircal overview and then uses GPS to position you on the battlefield; the maps are pre-loaded so no 3G signal is required. From there you can follow a tour around the main Arnhem locations. There are short audio files to listen to and a couple of videos of contemporary film, along with a selection of wartime images. The audio files are good and clear (although could do with being ‘cleaned up’ a little), the video interesting but is best viewed in landscape format. However, the photos disappointing as they are fairly small and not very high resolution. It will certainly be a useful guide to the area for the first time visitor and is a welcome addition to the range of Battlefield Apps. I look forward to others from this publisher. The App costs £1.99 which seems a little expensive for the overall quality.
Score: 6/10

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