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How The Explorers app digitises your travel narrative

For some people, travelling means unplugging.

But it is 2020, and the technology industry has no choice but to cater to smartphone-toting adventurers. While a groundswell of social media apps such as Instagram, Twitter and, in some cases, Reddit, come handy, there still is a terabyte-sized vacuum in the digital travel space — one which The Explorers, the world’s first inventory app with High Definition (4K) content, is hoping to fill.

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  • Know the lingo: Gone are the days of carrying a thick little book full of rudimentary phrases in a foreign language. Now, travellers can rely on up-to-date language translation apps such as iTranslate and Google Translate, which continue to grow their linguistic repertoire. The advantages of language apps include up-to-date dialects. But do not expect colloquial terms to pop out of your mouth while flirting with the Sicilian barman, who is serving you fine amaretto.
  • Clean up the planet: If 2019 was the year of developing a ‘green mind’, 2020 will be the year of mediating that change through lifestyle apps. Travellers should be leaning into carbon neutral initiatives by tour companies on booking apps. Already in the market are carbon neutral air safaris, zero-waste Airbnbs and apps like Green Globe, which help you find eco-friendly hotels, and Environmental Working Group’s ‘Healthy Living’ app which details how ‘clean’ and conflict-free a given food item or product in a given country is.

The app has a strong presence in the Americas and Europe, but is not as popular in India, though it is not even a year old. The Explorers is the result of the melding of two travel-hungry minds — of Olivier Chiabodo and Jean-Pierre Morel, its founders — who wanted a platform to exclusively document the world’s geographical gems.

“We have a diverse team of developers, scientists, content moderators and videographers to make sure the content is geo-tagged, original, and meets our visual standards,” Olivier explained, when he spoke at the App Store Best of 2019 event in New York City on December 2. The Explorers team was awarded Apple TV App Of The Year. “The app is available in Hindi too, but we could look into regional languages if we see more activity from the community in India,” he noted.

There is a disclaimer. The Explorers is not for the pouty Instagrammer sporting a peace symbol at Machu Picchu; it is for hardcore travellers. Available on iOS and Android devices, the app is best utilised and enjoyed after your travel than during it. Whatever footage or photography one has acquired, it can be edited and uploaded to the app in the form of a teaser reel or a longer story-telling format. And if one has filmed in 4K or 8K resolution, the result is best viewed on a larger screen.

How The Explorers app digitises your travel narrative

The app has multiple tabs — the one titled ‘The Explorers’ feature mini-documentaries, news snippets and facts for quick reading. There is also premium content in this section such as ‘The Explorers+ Earth Stories’ — which narrate unconventional tales such as sea unicorns and semi-wild horses on the Marquesas Islands.

As a user, though, you would be sharing content to the ‘Community’ section, which seems to be more a serious social network for adventurers, documentary filmmakers, photographers and conservationists. The Explorers also recently launched the Academy — a contest in which the app’s users contribute to the Earth’s inventory, with the winner going on a five-day expedition with their team to Peru.

(The writer was in New York City for the App Store Best Of 2019 event at the invitation of Apple Inc.)

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 10:49:25 AM |

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