Surprising discoveries await after exploring these apps centered around Columbus Day

Oct 12, 2009

Searching for mobile apps you’ll love can lead to circuitous journeys. On this Columbus Day, we highlight apps that put the world in perspective and uncover others that encourage us all to dream big and explore the final frontier. 

Map apps confirm the world is round 

While Columbus understood the earth’s dimensions without the benefit of a 3G network, having access to Google Maps would have provided an earlier glimpse at the new world. The free application closely resembles its game-changing web counterpart, offering satellite and map views from indexed locations (and information about nearby businesses) all over the world. The mobile version allows you to tap into this information on the go, although an Internet connection or subscription to AT&T’s $24.99 per month international data package is required to take full advantage of the service. 

Columbus was one of the first people to realize that you will eventually go east while traveling west. Still, Compass Go would have been a useful aid to his many journeys. The 99-cent app mimics the directional capabilities of an actual compass, while also also tracking your speed, target destination and position of the sun (thereby proving that the sun does not revolve around the earth).
When it came to measuring the circumference of the earth, Columbus was off by more than a few degrees. Formulas for calculating the perimeter of surfaces and tools for other geometry and algebra problems can be discovered by downloading MathTasks. Access to the free app is like having the back pages of every math text book you ever owned in your pocket. 

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Apps for audacious business ventures

In order to fund his trip, Columbus had to call on numerous venture capital investors before landing Isabella 1 of Castile as a patron. To help monitor cash flow, Columbus would have been wise to download Go4Broke. The 99-cent app is designed to keep business visionaries in line by detailing how much cash flow they have before running out of money.

Columbus’s original business plan was predicated on discovering a more optimal route to India’s spice trade. His initial research would have benefitted from a sampling of Herbes and Spices, Spanish. The $1.99 app, which is part of a series of “Herbs and Spices” offerings, details 66 commonly used ingredients for spanish dishes. It’s always good to keep your investors satiated, if anything else. 

During downtime on his numerous naval journeys, Columbus would have appreciated the insight and irony of Thomas Friedman’s bestselling business book The World is Flat. Of course, between mutinies time must have been tight. Accordingly, leafing through the 99-cent Book Bites – The World is Flat app would have been his best option.

For the rest of us grinding through our own careers, knowing which holidays justify bank and federal service closings is important. Such information about Colubus Day and other national holidays is detailed at the 99-cent Federal Holidays app. 

The road ahead 

Space, of course, is the final frontier. The best overview to tap into other-worldly discoveries from your iPhone is found at Star Walk. The $2.99 app is the ultimate reference to discovering and naming stars and galaxies that comprise the cosmos.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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