Buildings for Android by OpenBuildings Inc is a great new app that will help you not only to keep in touch with new architectural marvels around the world, but also help you to discover local gems, you may not have ever before discovered.
The app is specifically designed for tourists and architecture enthusiast alike, boasting an impressive encyclopaedic database of 40,000 buildings from all around the world. Each building is covered in detail and features impressive factual information about the building in fields such as, it's history, architect and construction status. In addition, the entries all have an 'official' gallery of images and video supplied by the app, this runs in parallel to a user gallery, where any registered user of the app can submit their own relevant media.
Registered users also benefit from other features such as favouriting buildings and commenting/discussing them. Registration with the app is free and can even be done by logging in with a Facebook account.
Favourite buildings are one of the three major navigation components of the app, the other two being Browse and Nearby. These three categories are displayed as buttons near to the top of the screen and can easily be switched between. Here's a run down of each of these navigation tools.
Browse - The browse section is dissected in to two parts, 'Featured Today' and 'Recent Buildings'. Feature Today shows two buildings presumably chosen by the editors at OpenBuildings. Recent obviously shows the recent entries to the system.
Nearby - Using GPS, Wi-Fi and Triangulation the app can locate where you are and display the catalogued buildings in your local vicinity. It's a great way to find interesting buildings near you. Likewise, this feature will be great for tourists that want to find interesting places to visit while away from home. The radius of this feature can be changed, meaning if you only want buildings very close to you, say one kilometre, you can set that.
Favourite - All the buildings you favourite will show here. With the great sharing options built into the app, your favourite buildings can easily be found and shared with your friends.
All of the navigation features can be adjusted through the diverse range of filters such as, Architect, Status and Programme. Still can't find what you're looking for? Then try out the built-in search, accessible through the top right hand corner of the app or the devices search button.
I'll definitely bring this with me next time I go on holiday, just to see what kind of interesting architectural marvels I may be missing out on. The only problem I can see is that unless you can find WiFi abroad you may end up with a large bill due to roaming fees. On the other hand the thumbnail images don't seem too large in size (so maybe not too much to download), a nice touch.
Checkout the OpenBuildings project in your desktop web browser