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An app that reads Wikipedia to teach you about cities you’re driving through (theverge.com)
142 points by ax00x 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

I use http://wikimapia.org/ when traveling to find out about what's around me. Going around the US by train last year I passed a decommissioned ICBM launch site and a couple of Superfund/nuclear waste sites. Neat.

Shameless self-plug; I recently launched an app to help people discover and contribute interesting things about the places they go - https://www.r3d.city. Feedback greatly appreciated!

It seems like there's a gap for a mapping application focussed around discovery. Google maps and the like expect you to know what you are looking for. I want an application that will show me what interesting towns, villages, churches, museums, beaches etc. there are around me whilst travelling.

Does anyone know if something like this already exists?

I have some ideas for how I would implement it myself but I thought I'd check what else is already out there.

You might want to check out Niantic's (the same people who made Ingress) app called Field Trip[1]. It seems to fulfill a lot of what you're asking for.

1: https://www.fieldtripper.com/m/index.html

There's definitely a gap here. I've attempted to use Google Maps while cruising or walking around a new city and glance at what's around me every few blocks, but I certainly crave something that's going to recommend new places for me to check when I am traveling.

Considering Google has so much location history of its users, along its Places data, one would think that creating a recommendation engine for travelers would be fairly trivial for them. I would not be surprised if they are already working on this.

That said, I would enjoy and potentially prefer an alternative solution to one they could provide.

This is different but in the same vein: https://flyovercountry.io/

Google earth is quite good for this purpose. Strangely this is not merged with google maps.

A friend of mine and I, while on a road trip, thought it'd be cool if there was an app like the one described that tells you about what's grown in the fields and orchards you drive through out in the country. I decided against making it after reading articles about how there are actual orchard robbers and people who steal millions of dollars worth of almonds; I don't want to make it easier for criminals. But I still kind of hope someone else makes it because I'd enjoy it.

How do you plan to get the data? Assuming you took the idea that far.

Sounds interesting indeed, and I have not thought about it for long, but I doubt there is any public official database for it?

Bravo for considering the potential impact before building.

How would you account for crop rotation?

Find Wikipedia articles near your location:


App author here: Added this as an additional data source for the app.

This looks neat. I've been working on something similar, (https://www.drivehighlights.com/) after wanting something like this on a road trip with my family. It's still a work in progress and only US locations right now, but I'm working to add new types of locations.

I'm currently on a trip around the world by train and would love to use this. Currently 33 countries and 3.5 years in.

Hey, as someone who would love to do such a thing, I've often wondered, outside of simply being wealthy beyond my imagination, or working while traveling, how does someone fund such a trip?

Love seeing an app built on Glitch [1] getting press coverage from somewhere as big as The Verge!

As an American visiting Austria, I sympathize with the Vienna bug. Nearly walked to Virginia multiple times due to a miscommunication with Google Maps ;)


This is a bit off topic but is there an app that takes you to your destination with the most scenic routes? Currently, Waze and Google Maps gives me the route with the least traffic but one time I took a Waze route through VA which was absolutely gorgeous. The only way I can make this happen is taking the opposite of the GPS and then letting it guide me through the backways.

I want the same for street names I'm driving, is this available? E.g. short bio of the personality the street is named for. Given the track is known it can even select longer/shorter versions depending on how long you're going to stay on the given street :)

Seems like a cool, simple web app. The voice isn't great though. I would think that it's pretty easy to have a nicer computer generated voice nowadays, but I've never built something that needed to do text to speech so maybe not.

Author of the app here: The voice is whatever your browser on your device uses by default for speech synthesis. E.g. on an iPhone it may be Siri's default, on other platforms it is a different voice.

Are you checking for spoken article coverage? There are not a lot, sadly, but some places are covered.


This reminded me of Sheldon hacking a GPS (The Big Bang Theory) https://youtu.be/WreaEJDyk7M?t=50s

Would it possible to choose a different language? Edit: someone else already open a issue (see issue no. #8)

The voice is absolutely hideous on MacOS, but very listenable on Android.

The worst voice is built into chrome for desktop. Other Mac browsers use the system voice, which is [by default] reasonable.

Really nice idea. Some friends and I were driving to Stonehenge a few weeks, I got my mate to read me the whole Wikipedia entry on Stonehenge as we were driving there. You can test this idea manually with friends and find out what the most interesting points of the article are and build that into the app.

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