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July 20 , 2010

goExplore Canada answers "Where the heck am I?"

Canada 's biggest travel app now available

The producers say goExplore Canada will show you where to go, what to see, where to stay, where to eat and just "where the heck am I?" It's just been released in the Apple app store and will be available in the Android Market around the end of the month.

The free app uses detailed maps and includes more than 3,000 Points of Interest in Canada -- searchable by province, territory and city with sections for nature and adventure, history, fun things to do, eating, sleeping, night life, transportation, essential services and more.

"Our goal was the most complete travel app for Canada," said Mark Pedersen. "If you're traveling in Canada, this is the app you want to have."

And with their roots in film, television and multimedia, the producers have made sure there's much more than text.

"Travel is rich with visual possibilities," said Jon Pedersen. "Stills and video are very effective when it comes to exploring places and in our app we've made good use of both. This is a very pretty app."

One of the challenges was to build an app this big and make sure it didn't crash. But working with their software developers, the Pedersens have come up with an app that occupies little space on the phone and runs fast.

Early on they decided that the app should be available to all. So it's a free download. It's been made with the co-operation of attractions and venues, using material they're already displaying on the web. With pins, go Explore Canada locates each attraction on a searchable map of Canada, and since smartPhones have GPS, users can see where they are in relation to any attraction.

Commercial attractions, hotels, restaurants and others have signed up to be on the map as well and the brothers hope this modest revenue stream will cover the substantial costs involved in licensing the software.

Jon is a self-taught filmmaker who, early in his career, was honoured with the Lieutenant-Governor's Award of Excellence in Cinema and who, for many years has shot and directed documentaries and features, both independently and for the National Film Board, TVOntario, CTV and others.

Mark is a journalist who worked for The Canadian Press, CBC Radio and then CBC Television as an on-air political reporter, then as a producer and eventually Executive Producer. Later, he established Pedersen Productions and independently produced (with Angus Street Productions) 78 episodes of the Canadian Antiques Roadshow as well as documentaries for both CBC and CTV.

Earlier this year, Mark's cell phone battery went dead. He learned replacing it would cost almost as much as a new phone -- so he bought a brand-new iPhone. And fell into the world of apps. As soon as he demonstrated its potential to Jon, there were two iPhones in the family and suddenly it seemed like a great idea to adapt their years of multimedia experience to the production of smart Phone apps.

"This has been fun," said Jon. "It's been a steep learning curve but it's been fun."

"And it's the future," added Mark, "I love pushing the envelope."

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