SpotWorld, an app exclusively for the iPhone, promises to help curious travelers discover and share great itineraries for their chosen destinations.
SpotWorld got off on the wrong foot with me, asking for permission to send me emails, update my Facebook timeline, send me notifications about updates, and spam all my friends with messages about SpotWorld before I was even able to try out the app.
After picking my way through that minefield of questions, I chose my home town from the list of three dozen or so pre-loaded cities and gave some of the saved itineraries a peek. For Atlanta, there are only three, submitted by two users. “Classic Atlanta” routes people to The Varsity (ick!), the World of Coca-Cola (cute, but generic), the High Museum of Art (cool), Centennial Olympic Park (really?), the Margaret Mitchell House (okay), and Turner Field (okay).
I scoured a number of other user-submitted itineraries in other cities I’ve visited and found very few that held any appeal for me. That’s to be expected, perhaps — after all, itineraries are personal by nature, driven by each individual’s sense of what constitutes a good time. And therein lies the problem with SpotWorld: instead of making the process of finding a great itinerary easier, it just substitutes one kind of drudgery (sorting through dozens of possible trip destinations) for another (sorting through dozens of itineraries submitted by others).
The interactive map feature is promising, as it pins the entire library of “spots” you can visit to a location-aware Google map. The maps make it easy to get a sense of how far you are from local points of interest, but, because the app hinges on user-submitted data, the information presented about each point of interest is pretty thin at this point.
Perhaps in an effort to mask how thin the actual content currently is, SpotWorld also incorporates photos and text articles on some local sights. Your enjoyment of these will vary, though, based on how much you enjoy hearing a robotic female voice read Wikipedia articles aloud.
Frankly? TripAdvisor.com’s iPhone app — because that site has a *massive* user-submitted database already in place — does a better job of identifying, ranking, and mapping real points of interest. And after seeing Plnnr’s almost magical ability to identify local hotspots *and* integrate them into a real itinerary (complete with walking tours, how long to spend at each point, and how long it takes to get from A to B), SpotWorld’s user-submitted content and very basic lists of local sights to see don’t impress.