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Spot-On: Your very own Hitchhiker's Guide

Spot-On: Your very own Hitchhiker's Guide

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide is one of the best inventions of science fiction ever.  It’s up there with the light saber and the flux capacitor.  And now I’m chuffed to see that it’s been brought to life in Spot-On, and by a bunch of kiwis too.  Nice one Air New Zealand.

Okay, Spot-on doesn’t talk to you in a calm and friendly English accent, it doesn’t have ‘Don’t Panic’ emblazoned on it, and it doesn’t feature a Bugblatter Beast anywhere.  And why not?  Because it covers places like London, Melbourne and New Zealand.

 

As you’ve probably gathered, Spot-On is a travel guide for the iPhone.  The first screen on the NZ app shows you Aotearoa all broken up into its regional bits, with handy little sub headings like ‘Eastland: Where sun touches first’.  And there’s a map to help you if you have no idea where any of these places are.

 

  

 

Once you pick out a region or city then there’s another menu that lets you select the highlights of the towns in the area and the ‘don’t miss’ local secrets.  This is exactly the sort of thing I like in a guidebook, as opposed to long boring lists of churches and parks.

 

  

 

Funky, offbeat places to eat, weird art exhibitions, backstreet markets, classic local pubs…that’s the sort of stuff I’m into and Spot-On seems to be into that too.

 

  

 

Basically you go to the feature and it gives you a brief overview.  If you want to pinpoint where it is there’s an interactive map you can use, and if you want to know more about the place then there are links to more in depth sites.  In a nutshell it’s a handy first port of call for all of your touristy info needs.

  

And since I liked the cut of the Farmer’s Market’s jib, I used the ‘save my trip’ function to bookmark it with any other places and activities that took my fancy.  And in the same window I can book my flights if I want to…with Air NZ of course.

Another nice touch is that Spot-On has a sense of humour.  In the tool section there’s a list of Kiwi slang translations, because we kiwis do talk a load of bull at times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you can make and send ecards jam-packed full of frivolity and general silliness, and post them to Facebook and Twitter.

 

  

 

It all sounds like fun and games then.  Any pitfalls?

The accommodation options are pretty limited…mostly hostels, which is fine if you’re a backpacker, not so good if you’re a travelling family man with rug urchins like myself.  And the eateries are a bit few and far between.  But I’m thinking these areas will grow with future updates and versions.

So Spot-On gets my Hitchhiker’s thumb up.  It’s a walk in the park to use, it’s great for those travelling on a budget and because it’s an Air NZ product, there isn’t any advertising.  Not even from Air NZ.

Next time though, guys, could you chuck a big ‘Don’t Panic, mate’ sign in there somewhere?  Pleeaase?

  

Click on the tiki for Spot-On!

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