National Mall and Memorial Parks Launch Mobile App

Visitors to the nation’s capital can now use their smart phone to learn about and find their way around the National Mall. The NPS National Mall app, one of the first apps developed by the National Park Service, runs on Apple iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches and is available free from Apple’s iTunes App Store. The National Park Service expects to release the Google Android version this fall.

The NPS National Mall app includes a map of popular Washington, D.C., destinations, displays the user’s current location, highlights points of interest and provides walking directions to more than 70 featured sites. A “Park Lens” feature allows visitors to identify popular National Mall attractions by using their mobile device’s camera. As a user holds up their mobile device, labels appear on screen to identify sites and monuments.

The app comes preloaded with tour suggestions of various lengths and topics and allows visitors to design customized National Mall tours with walking directions. Information, photos and videos of the sites also are included.

“Today’s visitors are more technologically attuned than ever before,” said Superintendent Bob Vogel. “The public increasingly relies on interactive maps and GPS for navigation, and we want to use this technology to enrich our visitors’ experiences. This app functions as a virtual visitor center with services that range from personalized tours to multimedia content.”

The National Park Service developed the app as part of a larger wayfinding program that includes new signs currently being installed throughout the National Mall. The Trust for the National Mall, the park’s official fundraising partner, raised $1.1 million, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by federal Centennial Challenge funds, totaling $2.2 million for the new wayfinding program. The project aims to improve orientation with clear directions and present information about iconic monuments, as well as lesser-known national sites.

“The new app and overhauled National Mall wayfinding system is the latest way we’re making the National Mall the best park in the world,” said Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust for the National Mall. “Visitors to the National Mall can now spend less time lost and more time enjoying the park and learning about our country’s great history.”

National Mall and Memorial Parks is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. The park includes such well-known landmarks as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as some lesser known gems such as the District of Columbia War Memorial and the African American Civil War Memorial.

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