“Are we there yet?” It’s the most commonly asked question from the back seat on long trips. Usually it comes from kids and adolescents who have unglued themselves from the latest portable movie or videogame imported from home. So how do you get technology focused kids to focus on the latest travel excursion? Combine their love of tech with the latest map tools.
One digital map tool that has made some notables waves amongst map publishers for its ease of use and innovation is PDF Maps app – a free app for the iOS platform that combines the detail of paper maps with the interactivity of a GPS tool. Ted Florence, president of Avenza Systems Inc. and developer of PDF Maps app, shares a few ideas of how to keep kids involved in the journey with doses of technology:
1) Create the position of Onboard Digital Historian: Family taking a road trip for the week? Download a map of the area that you’ll be traveling and place waypoints/pinpoints on all the major stops. Since the PDF Maps app incorporates the GPS technology of iPhones/iPads, enlist the kids in tracking the car’s movement in relation to how much further you must go to your next destination. This way YOU can ask your kids, “Are we there yet?” Have them include any additional waypoints of interesting spots you’ve stopped at with pictures and descriptions.
2) Join a Geocaching Treasure Hunt: If you don’t have enough time for a long trip, get the kids out of the house with a simple game of geocaching! Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices and all that’s needed is to sign up on a Geocaching site. With Avenza’s PDF Maps app kids can locate local geocaching hunts, download a detailed map of the area and begin the geocaching search with the coordinates provided on the map. Kids can document their trip to take back home. A fun way to get out of the house for the afternoon!
3) ‘I-Spy’ Game with a Geography Twist: Welcoming out-of-town nieces and nephews? Take them on your latest documented trip on PDF Maps app and have them ‘spy’ the destinations with the images connected to each waypoint. From the app, you can even export the waypoints and email it to them before the trip so they’ll know what you had in mind! They’ll get into the journey by tracking the GPS signal and how close you are to each destination.
4) Make Your Child the Navigator: So you’ve reached your destination via plane, boat or car and are ready to explore your surroundings. Give your kids some responsibility and provide some examples of places the family can visit. Have them plot waypoints of amusement parks, museums and other points of interest and figure out the best routes and places to visit first.
5) Share Your Summer Trip: The Digital Book Report! Kids are often asked to share their summer vacation adventures with teachers and friends. Won’t they be so impressed when you add a little geography to it? With PDF Maps app, you can share the distance you traveled to get there as well as photos attached to the route you traveled. You can also keep everyone abreast of your adventures by sharing your points of interest on Facebook and Twitter.