The World Factbook 09 iPhone app a cornucopia of cultural information

Nov 5, 2009
Tech

Have you ever found yourself in conversation with someone who mentions a country you’ve never heard of? Or one you’re embarrassed to admit you know very little about? Perhaps on a more practical level, you’re working on a paper, planning your next trip, or a widely traveled and curious observer looking for the latest details […]

Have you ever found yourself in conversation with someone who mentions a country you’ve never heard of? Or one you’re embarrassed to admit you know very little about? Perhaps on a more practical level, you’re working on a paper, planning your next trip, or a widely traveled and curious observer looking for the latest details on a far-away nation. An atlas is too big to carry around all the time, but The World Factbook ’09 is the next best thing to aid in your research.

You navigate this app (99 cents)  by country — you can search with a keypad for easier access — and once you click on a given place, you can view the country’s flag, locate it on the map (the app’s own, as well as Google’s), and read about its background, such as its people — which includes language, sex ratio, and ethnic groups, among other facts — and my favorite part, transnational issues. One highlight was reading up on Samoa, only to find them void of any international disputes.

The World Factbook ’09 is as straightforward as they come, and on that note, hard to argue with. This app provides universally useful information interesting to just about everyone for one reason or another, including regular updates free of charge. The app’s description rightly boasts about one of its top features: Not only does The World Factbook cover countries with a flag we know, but it, “also provides interesting chapters for our changing planet, oceans and parts of the world whose status has not yet been resolved.”

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