Tulum Be Your Own Guide app iphone FrontTulum – Be Your Own guide is an app for iPhone or iPad that provides directions to and information on items of interest at the site of Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is designed to guide you around the site during a visit. When used onsite, the app uses your device's GPS to direct you to specific structures and other features around the site. No Wi-Fi or cellular data is used, so no need to worry about large data bills. Read on to find out why I think you should spend $0.99 for this app even if you don't plan on visiting Tulum any time soon.

by Keith Merwin, IMS Webmaster

Tulum Be Your Own Guide - iphone homeFig 2-HomeThe Home page on the app (fig. 2 on iPhone) provides a colorful map of the site of Tulum with all the structures and other features. Selecting a building from the map you get the options “About”, “Take Me There”, or "Cancel". The “About” (fig. 3)Tulum app About on iPadFig 3 - About selection takes you to a picture of the building and a description that can be read or listened to. Each of the descriptions has been recorded by the author, Dr. Ed Barnhart of the Maya Exploration Center, so you can listen to them as you look the structure over. Some of the descriptions include details from historic sources, such as Structure 54, which during the time of Stephens and Catherwood still had a roof, so an interesting quote from Stephens is included. Choosing "Take Me There" shows you the direction you need to go and the distance in meters from where you are to the Structure.

The Menu runs across the bottom and offers the following selections. What Is That; Take Me There; Ed’s Tour and More. What Is That works with your device's GPS so that you can point at a structure and get information on it. Take Me There lets you select a structure and then tell the direction and distance to that structure. Ed's Tour provides a thirteen stop tour of the site. The More selection (fig.4Tulum app ipad MoreFig 4-More) gives 6 additional items. Tulum Site History gives Contact Period History, the History of Research and Archaeology and a History Chronology. Each of these contain a written background on the history of the site. Again the entire text can be played as audio by Dr. Barnhart. Buildings/Features provides an easy way to access any of the more than 80 items covered by pictures and descriptions by this app. Photo Album and Video Gallery arrive empty, in the upper right corner of each page you will have noticed a camera icon. Selecting this allows you to take a picture or make a video within the app and they are stored here in the Photo Album or Video Gallery. Credits provides information on the app. Finally the Bibliography provides a list of the many References used to create this app.

Dr. Barnhart considers this app a pilot project and, if the sales are good, he plans to do an app on Palenque next. Palenque is a site that he considers special as he was director of the Palenque Mapping Project.


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