A while ago we reported on the app dcovery, which allows users to put together guidebooks based on their own travel research. For all the great things about dcovery, one major disadvantage was that there was no easy way to plot all your sites on one map in the mobile app (at least, not one we could find).
Now, professional cartographers we may not be. But we’re excited to find this new app that let’s you search for sites and attractions, plot all points on one map, and share your map with others. Plotter (free for iPhone), is a new approach to crowd-sourcing travel information. Download the app, and create an account that’s linked to your Facebook profile. The app lets you search for destinations by name or address (powered by Google), and organize them onto a custom map. Each plot point comes with contact information and Google user reviews (if available). You can even merge different maps, say "bakeries" and "bars" (which would be the best map ever). Once the map is created, a list view allows you to quickly scan all your plot points.
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Once you’ve created your map, find it under "My Maps" on the main nav page, and swipe it for a variety of options. Edit your map, and create paths between plot points on your map so set your route ahead of your trip. Post the map on Facebook, Twitter, or email it to others to get suggestions for new plot points. Change privacy settings to make the map public, available to friends only, or private.
Socially speaking, this app is pretty well connected, although it doesn’t appear that the "find friends" functionality is enabled on the most current version of this app. As far as we understand, once it is enabled, you’ll be able to search and import friends from Facebook and Twitter who also use Plotter so you can share maps among all your contacts.
In addition to sharing maps with your friends, you can find and take public maps created by other users, all located in a central Map Room.
Other than the yet-to-be-enabled friend import functionality, our major complaint with this app is slow and clunky transitions between screens, and a lack of adequate instruction on start-up, which made finding some of the more hidden functionality on the nav page a pain. All in all, Plotter is a very useful pre-trip planning app, and the merging of all stops on one map is a long-awaited stroke of genius.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Plotter