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How to turn Wikipedia into your own personal tour guide when you’re out and about



How to turn Wikipedia into your own personal tour guide when you’re out and about

With more than 40 million articles in 301 different languages, Wikipedia has become a cornerstone of the internet. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to imagine an online life without our faithful, free encyclopedia.

Lazy students everywhere who leave their geography projects on oxbow lakes to the last minute would be lost without it. And where else could we read every single minute detail about the 1964 Winter Olympics at 4 in the morning?

Now a new app is making the most of that incredible wealth of information to change the way you travel forever.

Called WikiCompass, this app uses augmented reality and GPS to find nearby Wikipedia articles and then points you in their direction.


The app, which can be used anywhere there’s an internet connection, marks every location that has a Wikipedia article about it so that when you tap an icon on the map above a landmark, it’ll pull up a small picture of that place. You can then tap again and launch the full article to read even more.

The developers Allez Interactive Inc say on their website: “WikiCompass was created to get you information about the things around you quickly, easily and intuitively.

“Whether travelling the world or taking the class outside, WikiCompass provides a truly unique and educational experience that will have you exploring and learning at the same time.”

The app, which will only set you back AED3.69, requires iOS 11.0 or later and can be used on your iPad or iPhone. Nice.

Our experience

Eager to try it, we coughed up the fee and set out to explore the world that is WikiCompass. Here’s how it went.

  • After nearly tripping up the stairs and coming to our untimely demise, we made it to the roof of our office building.
  • iPhone in hand and eyes desperately trying to adapt to the sun’s rays, we began scanning the area.
  • A few milliseconds later, we found that most of our neighboring buildings all have their spot on the app and, thanks to the fact that anyone can edit information on Wikipedia, some of it was wrong. But the buildings were there none the less.
  • After declaring the app a success, we spent the next 20 odd minutes looking like teenagers in search of Pokémon Go characters. We are also pretty sure that we’re responsible for one of our colleagues spilling her tea all over herself – Jen, we’re sorry.

Facts we learnt from the app

Jumeirah Lake Towers

Jumeirah Lake Towers

Jumeirah Lake Towers consists of 80 large towers that have been constructed over three artificial lakes.

Business Central Towers

Business Central Towers

The Business Central Towers were originally called Al Kazim Towers. Both structures are 265 metres in height and resemble New York’s Chrysler Building.

Al Salam Tecom

Al Salam Tecom

Al Salam Tecom Tower consists of 47 floors and was completed in 2008.

Things we learnt while using the app

  • Objects on screen are closer than they seem.
  • Never use a phone and walk.
  • Always keep an eye on your colleagues, especially those with blistering hot drinks in hand.
  • You’re never too old to go on a mission. Even if it is just up the stairs of the office building.

Right then, we suppose that all that’s left for you to do is download the app and get scanning. See you out there.

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