Most people we know with iPhones like to brag about all the whiz-bang tools packed into their phone, as iPhone “applications” extend the possibilities of the device far beyond simply making a telephone call. The “Amsterdam Mobile Guide,” one of the latest tools in the box, is a free iPhone application that acts as a personal tourist guide.
Created by the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, the application provides an index of Amsterdam’s main sights. Interactive on and offline, the application is worth a test drive to iPhone users, or holders of other web-enabled mobile devices.
Large option umbrella
The Amsterdam Mobile Guide offers a wide array of tourism info. Like the guidebooks that it’s ostensibly replacing, the handheld guide lists a number of attractions, restaurants, bars, hotels and shops, categorizing them by city district. Each listing includes an image, contact information, map, and a few side notes. When you click on a listing, your iPhone’s GPS system will provide distance and directions by car, public transport, or by foot. (Unfortunately, no bike route option is available.)
On a recent trip to check it out at Amsterdam’s Mac House, the manager, Yvin Hei, had this to say, “The search option is a plus, and you don’t need to constantly be updating the application.”
An interesting feature is the “Itinerary” option, which provides users with a detailed agenda for set time-frames, from eight-hour layovers to 72-hour weekend stays. Another bonus is the “Near Me” option, which lists bars, attractions, and other destinations within a .5 kilometer radius of your location.
The “Getting Around” option gives the lowdown on how transport works in Amsterdam. Bike rentals, tourism and public transport office addresses are cited and mapped with easy-to-follow directions. An ideal addition would be tram, bus and metro maps and time schedules—maybe they’ll add this in the future.
Room for expansion
Category listings cover about 200 venues of interest and cater to tourists with average to high-end budgets. Unfortunately, there are no sightings for cheap bars, hostels, and food joints on this application. An “Amsterdam For Free” option would be a welcome Cheapo addition.
A quick-hit search for local nightlife—again at the local Mac House— only yielded two venues in the city center. Even Hei, the helpful floor manager contends with that, “Well, there is more nightlife here than that.” Entertainment listings on the application tend to stick to the mainstream venues, yet local favorites can be spotted occasionally.
Try it out
View the Amsterdam Mobile Guide at http://us.holland.com/
Already test driving the Amsterdam Mobile Guide on your iPhone? Leave a comment below about which features you like or dislike!