Yesterland Yesterland on Field Trip

Yesterday, Google announced Field Trip, a new location-aware app for smart phones. I’m pleased to announce that Yesterland is one of Google’s content partners.

The Android version of Field Trip is already available for free download at Google Play. It’s “coming soon to iOS,” according to Google. Even if you don’t have a smart phone yet, I think you’ll be interested in what this app does.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, September 28, 2012


Field Trip

art © Google

Wouldn’t it be great if your phone could share all sorts of interesting and useful information with you, based on your location? After all, your smart phone knows where you are. That’s the idea behind Field Trip, a new mobile app from Google.

Google’s official description of Field Trip begins with these two paragraphs:

Field Trip is your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you. Field Trip runs in the background on your phone. When you get close to something interesting, it pops up a card with details about the location. No click is required. If you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you.

Field Trip can help you learn about everything from local history to the latest and best places to shop, eat, and have fun. You select the local feeds you like and the information pops up on your phone automatically, as you walk next to those places.


I am honored that Google asked me to provide the history content for Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Disneyland Hotel.

Field Trip

Composite image: Hand and phone © Google; Tobacco Shop, Robert Demoss, 1987; Main Street, Werner Weiss, 2007.

 The concept behind the Yesterland content on Field Trip

The composite image above—Disneyland’s defunct Tobacco Shop on a phone display in front of a more recent view of Main Street—illustrates why Field Trip should be a lot of fun. Field Trip allows you to take in the past and present simultaneously—in the actual location.

Field Trip

screen capture courtesy of Google

The Tobacco Shop on Field Trip

Field Trip’s display format looks like the screen capture above. As Field Trip users walk through the Disneyland Resort, the app will pop up a card when they get near locations of “Yester” landmarks. Each card has one photo, a brief excerpt from the matching Yesterland article, and a link to the full article.

Field Trip

screen capture courtesy of Google

Aladdin’ Royal Caravan on Field Trip

At this point, I have to admit that I haven’t used Field Trip. I don’t have an Android phone. In fact, I’m still in the minority of American mobile phone users with a basic feature phone that’s good for voice, but little else. So this isn’t a review of Field Trip.

One of these days, I’ll decide that a data plan is worth the cost. I’ll then retire my old phone in favor of an Android phone or iPhone. Apps like Field Trip are pushing me ever closer to that decision.

Field Trip

screen capture courtesy of Google

Field Trip map view of Aladdin’s Royal Caravan

Building the data files for Google was a manual process with a lot of copying and pasting.

Picking a photo was usually easy. Although most Yesterland articles have somewhere around a dozen photos, there’s usually one establishing shot that provides the best overview.

Picking a text excerpt was a bit harder. I tried to use the first two or three sentences of each article, but sometimes those sentences were meaningless when removed from their larger context.

The biggest challenge was picking just the right geographic coordinates. In some cases it was easy. For something like the Tobacco Shop, the sidewalk outside the shop was the logical choice. But what about a parade? The parade route goes from “it’s a small world” to Town Square. What’s the best geographic location? The beginning, center, or end of the parade route? The place where the picture was taken? Should a half dozen parades all have the same geographic coordinates, or should they be spaced along the route to provide more opportunities for discovery?

I hope I picked the right spots. I put a lot of thought into geographic coordinates. If I made some bad choices, I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

Field Trip

screen capture courtesy of Google

Sleeping Beauty Walk-Through, 1977 version on Field Trip

Fortunately, I can easily provide updates to Google. The content in Field Trip is not frozen or limited to software releases. The content is on servers, not embedded in the app. As I add new content to Yesterland or learn of things that can be improved, I’ll update the Yesterland data that Field Trip uses.

Field Trip

screen capture courtesy of Google

“Select Your Interests”

Field Trip is not just a history app. Here’s how Google identifies the content categories:

Discover thousands of interesting places/experiences that fall under the following categories: Architecture, Historic Places & Events, Lifestyle, Offers & Deals, Food Drinks & Fun, Movie Locations, Outdoor Art and Obscure Places of Interest around you.

Field Trip

screen capture courtesy of Google

“Nearby”

Yesterland is one of many content partners for Field Trip. Here’s how Google identifies some of the other content partners:

The hyperlocal history experts of Arcadia will unveil local lore in places you never expected. Trend-setting publications like Thrillist, Food Network, Zagat, and Eater will point out the best places to eat and drink. Experts at Sunset, Cool Hunting, WeHeart, Inhabitat, and Remodelista will guide you to the latest unique stores and products. Atlas Obscura and Daily Secret help you uncover hidden gems no matter where you are. Songkick and Flavorpill guide you to local music.

Field Trip

Field Trip website splash page © Google

Field Trip splash page at www.fieldtripper.com

To watch the Field Trip video or to be notified when the iOS version becomes available, go to www.fieldtripper.com.

To download Field Trip, to read reviews, or to learn more about the app, go to Google Play.

Have fun!


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Updated September 28, 2012.