Thank Collins, in conjunction with The Other Media, for bringing us Atlas by Collins, a continually updated app that allows iPhone and iPad users to discover their surrounding world—near and far—through three-dimensional colour-coded (and pretty!) maps.
Described as a “data visualization tool for representing worldwide information on a selection of themed globes”, this collection includes: satellite maps; physical maps; political maps; and information on environment, population, communications, and energy. All pretty self-explanatory, I should note however, the detail of these features along with the 3D aspect make for fun learning. With the political maps, not only are you shown current states and territories, but you’re also shown the effects that exploration and colonialism from once-upon-a-time had on our Earth. Très cool.
Collins markets the app as being an aid for professionals, families, and students. It’s an app that can aid in enhancing presentations, school work, planning and help users prepare for business or family trips, share information with friends and colleagues, explain the news, and see the world in any given and needed context.
While Atlas costs $9.99 on iTunes, which is a lot a more than you pay for the average app, it’s worth it. Atlas is a satellite-to-street-level view of the world á la Google Earth, a sizeable collection of information-packed city maps, and an encyclopedia and world map in one—so the price could be right. Not to mention, paying ten dollars to have the most thorough of atlases added to your device is a really inexpensive and light reference tool in comparison to its print counterparts—and I’m not even factoring the app’s ability to evolve with our ever changing world versus the stagnant, albeit beautiful, print atlas!
More importantly for our readers, it’s an example of a publisher monetizing its content in new and exciting ways. Collins is a publisher and they have come up with a fantastic way to be innovative, expand their audience, and make more money. Given Atlas’ capabilities and its appeal, it’s safe to assume as far as reference materials go, this one is a winner. Whether it will compete with Google Field Trip or find different users has yet to be determined but at least Collins is acting fast and getting into the map app early and while Apple is down. There are many more educational publishers with similar content and it’s now their turn to catch up. I would wager this is only the beginning of how publishers will repurpose their reference materials for tablets and smartphones.