Britain is in the spotlight, with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee upon us and the Olympic Games set to be held in London 2012. The UK is about to be hit with an onslaught of visitors, to whom the availability of decent tourist information will be critical to the enjoyment of their stay.
Pocket Britain is a free and very handy resource for smartphones running Android 1.1 or later - not only for those who are visiting Britain for the first time, but for those of us who have previously had our eyes closed to the delights of this green and pleasant land. See Best Android Apps.
Pocket Places' free smartphone app is a finalist in the Race For Apps 2012 competition, which aims to "crowd-source mobile apps from the digital community for visitors, business people and journalists coming into the local area during the 2012 Games". See raceforapps.com for more details.
Pocket Britain is not an exhaustive guide to the UK, but its editors continually update the app with new information. It also appeals to local tourist boards to submit information. Currently, Pocket Britain covers locations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, majoring on areas including London, Bath, Belfast, Cambridge, Cornwall, Cotswolds, Devon, Dorset, Edinburgh, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Lake District, Norfolk, Northumberland, Peak District, Somerset, Suffolk, Sussex, Wiltshire, York and Yorkshire.
Pocket Places covers all sorts of tourist information, from castles to cathedrals and beaches to markets. It links in with Google Maps to provide detailed standard and satellite mapping of the area, with Street View information where available. You can even use the app to send a free postcard via email.
You can search an A-Z listing of attractions, or Pocket Britain can utilise your smartphone's GPS to tell you about places to visit in the immediate vicinity.Various visitor information is listed, including pricing and a telephone number; there are also large images and several interesting 'Did you know?' facts, allowing you to be that annoying person who knows more than the tour guide showing you around. You can even listen to the article in true tour-guide style if you'd rather leave your eyes free to enjoy the location, but note that you'll need an active internet connection to use the app.
Pocket Britain also features 'Cover Articles', which look in-depth at a particular attraction or event. It's no surprise to find the current article concerns the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, but past spotlights have focused on Titanic 100 Years On, Exploring Kent, Devon's Jurassic Coast and RAF Heritage in London.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee features an image of Her Majesty, along with information about her six-decade reign as monarch. Pocket Britain outlines the various events taking place to commemorate the jubilee, including Saturday's Epsom Derby, Sunday's flotilla along the Thames, Monday's concert at Buckingham Palace, and Tuesday's extra bank holiday (woohoo) and thanksgiving service at St Paul's Cathedral. Finally, Pocket Britain lists all the Royal Places, from Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London to Hampton Court, Windsor and Sandringham. Each link takes you through to detailed visitor information, pictures and maps.