A new version of the T4A Guide App has just been launched for iPhone and iPad. Co-founder Johann Groenewald reveals what makes it so useful.
What is the difference between search and discovery? When you search you have a fairly good idea of what you are looking for – you already have the name or you’re looking in a particular place. Discovery, on the other hand, is when you stumble upon something you didn’t know existed, almost by chance.
How does this work in the context of overlanding? Some of us prefer to discover places as we travel. The extreme would be to drive around aimlessly without a map and see what is out there. The flip side is someone who plans a trip to the finest detail. They will consult various maps and other sources of information and then go and visit these places in an orderly fashion, using an itinerary! The majority of us are probably somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. We have an idea of where we want to go and we have heard of some nice places, so we equip ourselves with the maps to get there.
Our Guide App falls into the discovery toolset. The map is designed to allow you to use it like a paper map, just with many more map scales at your fingertips.
How does the Guide App work?
The app shows you where you are on the map. You can then toggle categories of information on and off to discover nearby attractions and places to stay, for example. If you wish, you can also search for places by name. The entries for camping, lodging and other categories have rich content associated with them, allowing you to obtain contact details or read up on a place. Best of all, everything in the Guide App also happens offline, without the need of an internet connection.
Our Guide App has been available for a few years already but this month we have updated the app with completely new technology. So what did we change?
On the old version of the app we could only serve a limited number of map layers. This was great for an overview map but didn’t allow for detailed map use. The new version of the app now ships with a free base map of the entire Africa. Should you wish, you can buy a high definition (HD) version of the map. The HD map will install and replace the base map and you will be able to zoom into street level detail.
The guides are still available in the app. The guides do not ship with a map any longer because a free base map of the entire continent is already available. If you own three or more guides, we will also make the HD map available to you free of charge. Simply download all your guides and you will see the HD map change to a free option.
The detailed map now shows all of the points of interest we have available in our data set. This allows you to browse the map and discover new gems.
How to use the new Guide App
A new feature of the map is the ability to use the map in North-up vs Track-Up mode. You simply click the little compass to toggle between these modes. The map can also be used in any fixed orientation and zoom level of your choosing.
Easily browse the map by dragging your finger across the screen or click on the crosshairs to have the map centered on your current location. The map will now update its position as you drive.
Time to find a place to sleep for the night? No problem, switch on the camping or lodging category and little dots will appear all over the map indicating places to stay. Click on a dot to see the name of the place. Click on the name and it will open up rich content about this listing. This functionality requires a guide to be installed for the country or region you are travelling in.
We hope you enjoy the new maps and welcome your feedback. We are already working on small tweaks to the map itself to optimise its use – these updates will roll out in the near future.
If you are wondering, the Android version of this new guide app was launched in February 2020; this month we were able to launch the iOS version. We are already working on more functionality which we hope to deploy in 2021.