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With the Olympics taking place for the third time in London at the moment, what better opportunity could there be to learn about the intriguing past of this impressive city? This is what London - A City Through Time hopes to deliver for your iPad.
It’s an absolutely massive undertaking, since the capital of the United Kingdom witnessed a lot of history (and oftentimes was instrumental in world history), and it’s all there from 43BC to the present day in easy-to-navigate categories. You can scroll through a timeline conveniently broken down by century, ruling monarch, and year, and tap on any section to bring up an article with an option to see its location on a modern map of the city. Many articles also offer a link to Wikipedia should you require more details.
You can scroll through and zoom in and out of the map of London. Historical landmarks are tagged and you can tap on them to read the relevant articles, and even check where you are in relation to those landmarks (Internet connection required, of course). There are also pages on specific periods, short testimonials from a few famous contemporary Londoners, detailed information about the Tube, a section on famous historical residents, three audio tours by the Blue Badge Tourist Guide, and amazing old maps and 3D interactive images. If for some reason you can’t find what you’re looking for amidst all of that content, there’s also a handy search field.
But there are a few annoying niggles. For one thing, you can’t copy sections of text, nor is there any way of taking notes or marking pages as favorites -- which is quite frustrating if you’re using the app as a research tool, or for planning your visits. In addition to that, although all landmarks are described, some don’t come with photos or illustrations, which is a shame, especially for very famous places like Nelson’s Column, 10 Downing Street, the Albert Bridge, and Shakespeare’s Globe, among others. It makes those pages look unnecessarily bare, but it's a small concern as the huge amount of information contained within is otherwise quite impressive.
The bottom line. London - A City Through Time is a very good and instructive app, with a lot of appreciate and learn about the famed locale, all organized in a clear and concise manner.
iPad running iOS 5.0 or later
Clearly laid out and organized. Easy to navigate. Great map feature.
No copying or note-taking. Some articles curiously lack photos. A tad expensive, though there's plenty here for the money.