When you’re launching a mobile app…
You really, really need to launch the iPhone app. That’s what I learned from attending the Android-only release launch of the Field Trip app by Atlas Obscura and Niantic Labs. The event organizers put a LOT of work into making an analog experience possible too, but it wasn’t the same. They stuck flag markers into the ground, but they weren’t always easy to spot. And while scrambling to find the flags scavenger-hunt-style could have been fun, it wasn’t what I signed up for. The Field Trip experience is supposed to be one of spontaneous discovery using location-based data: ambling down a path, a notification pops up telling you where you are and what you’re looking at.
In the spirit of the event, A and I decided not to go into overachiever mode, but to just let our feet take us wherever they may. In the end, we only came across a handful of Field Trip discovery sites. But they were all lovely, often requiring an insider’s tip to find, which I enjoyed. I really like the concept of the Field Trip app–stumble-upon discovery–as it’s totally what I love about being in Europe. You can just walk anywhere, into any square or building or church, and there’s something interesting to learn about the history there.
So sure, I’ll download the iPhone app if and when it’s released. But thinking about market share, on the BART ride home, I took a very unscientific survey of cell phone users. In my vicinity, I spotted 11 people holding cell phones, of which 10 were smartphones and 8 were iPhones. Perhaps you could argue that it’s self-selecting, and iPhone users are all addicts who whip out their phones every resting minute. While this is probably true, I stand by my position.
Attendees registering at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park. And a really cute kid being a perfect poster girl for the event.
Tree Fern Dell, a grove of prehistoric ferns. I can practically imagine dinosaurs loping around somewhere!
The Conservatory of Flowers has an entry free, so we just admired the outdoor plot of marigolds nearby.
My favorite find of the day was this little observatory/hideout. James Turell’s Three Gems in the deYoung Sculpture Garden is a skyspace, quiet and camouflaged beneath a grassy mound. So peaceful.
You also have to pay to enter the Japanese Tea Garden. Which is why this picture is of the entrance.
At the end of an afternoon roaming around Golden Gate Park, you start to get hungry. Luckily, there was food! The most delicious banh mi, catered by Bahn Mi Love You Long Time. The line here got very long, very fast.