San Francisco Alamo Square
San Francisco Alamo Square
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(Update Note: My app content in “‘SF Travel & Photo Guide” has now also been released as an ebook with the same title name, first on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2qS9QtG. See more details in an Announcement on my website at http://bit.ly/2qXg8Zf.)

Could the travel destination guide app, a genre that flourished for a few years and then declined, make a comeback?

Lee Foster thinks it will. He has just released his new and improved app SF Travel & Photo Guide.

The app is available for $3.99 from the Apple and Google app stores. The quickest way to see it is with a Search for the exact title “SF Travel & Photo Guide.” That’s SF rather than San Francisco.

Links from the publisher to the app stores can be circuitous. The links are Apple (the Apple iTunes App Store) and Google (the Google Play Android App Store).

Lee has also answered some questions about the app on his website. The app works on smart phones and tablet devices, but not on laptops or desktops. written by major travel journalists. There was one week when the Apple iTunes App Staff declared Foster’s earlier Sutro app on San Francisco a “Staff Favorite” and the app sold a thousand copies in the next days.

However, the Sutro founders decided to pursue other ventures rather than focus jointly on the custom software development required of their app engine. They eventually discontinued their travel app vision and support.

For his new SF app Foster chose carefully the top 100 travel experiences for San Francisco and the immediate vicinity north, east, and south. Each entry has a robust but concise text, plus the If You Go information that would be useful (area location, website for more info, precise address, phone, and price). Each entry is illustrated with one of Foster’s photos. Foster devoted two months in early 2017 to improving all aspects of this presentation before authorizing its release.

The app is designed as a travel guide, but with a photo coaching overlay. Almost everyone traveling today wants to make photos. Each subject has a Your Best Shot element, indicating the best objective photo and the best selfie photo possibility for that subject.entry-lf-sf-app-350

The app displays well on a small device, such as an iPhone or iPad, or any of the competing small devices. It’s easy to navigate around the app and find clusters of subjects in one area or in one special-interest category, such as Culture/Museums.

Special to app technology, as compared to travel ebooks and printed books, is the dynamic use of Google map. The maps allow users to locate themselves contextually and see subjects of interest around them on the map.

Foster believes that this map technology alone will forever assure the future of travel apps. Google maps alter the opportunities for travel journalists to present content to consumers desiring guidance in this new era.

However, a dedicated writer/photographer with content will need to identify a new software partner for apps. Foster has concluded that app software is too complicated for a layman individual. Apps are not a do-it-yourself option.

The new partner for Foster in this venture is publishing entrepreneur Katie Williams and her company, www.thisisremote.com. This new company benefits from the support of Williams’s former enterprise, Guidebook.com. That entity has successfully developed commercial app software for guides to college campuses, organizations, and conferences/events. Ironically, this is exactly the software needed for a travel destination app.

Foster promises to report back in six months whether this new travel app venture is a success.

“I am cautiously optimistic that destination travel apps will flourish again,” says Foster. “I hope that travel apps will assist the great travel journalists of our time to connect profitably with an audience desiring their guidance.”

For more information/questions about the app, contact:
Lee Foster
[email protected]
www.fostertravel.com
510-549-2202

(Author’s note: Foster will follow up soon with answers to several questions he has already received about the app. Send him your questions or comments to become part of the discussion.)

California: San Francisco. Alamo Square with view of Victorians and modern downtown

The description of this app in the app stores is as follows for:

SF Travel & Photo Guide

Full name, 30 characters max:

SF Travel & Photo Guide

Short name, 20 characters max:

SF Travel Guide

Preview Description, 50 characters max:

Discover San Francisco with a travel & photo guide

Fuller description:

Discover San Francisco with a travel & photo guide.

Lee Foster presents for you the 100 most interesting travel experiences in San Francisco and the immediate surrounding area. Explore and photograph the scene, putting yourself in some of your own postcard images.map-lf-sf-app-350

Lee guides you with his considerable knowledge to the best things to see and do, making wise use of your valuable time. He has personally checked out everything he recommends. Lee is an award-winning travel writer/photographer, winner of eight Lowell Thomas Awards, the highest prizes in travel journalism. He has written several books on San Francisco and Northern California.

This app guide has 100 content entries (the best experiences) and 20 introductory summaries, helping you plan your itinerary.

Each entry shows one of Lee’s photos, which you can replicate. Make an objective image or put yourself in the frame. Each entry has Lee’s Your Best Shot comment with photo tips, helping you get your best photo. Lee is well known as a travel photographer. For example, he has photos in more than 300 Lonely Planet travel books.

The outline of the app assists you to navigate and organize the rich travel possibilities for San Francisco and the immediate regions north, east, and south. A glance at the outline shows the strategy:

-Intro/About/The Author
-Google Map: Where are You?
-Lee’s Top 10 SF Experiences
-SF A to Z List: Everything to See!
-Areas of San Francisco to Explore!
-Area: Embarcadero
-Area: Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39
-Area: On the Bay
-Area: Downtown
-Area: Chinatown/North Beach
-Area: Civic Center
-Area: Golden Gate Bridge/Presidio
-Area: Northern/Western Oceanfront
-Area: Golden Gate Park
-Area: Mission/Castro
-Iconic Photo Views
-Nature/Hikes
-Culture/Museums
-Restaurants/Bars/Hotels
-Annual Celebrations
-Sports Teams
-North to Marin County
-East to Oakland/Berkeley
-South to San Mateo Coast/Bayside

These folks have secure dated voucher tickets, no wait in line and some discounts, for Bus Tours, Boat Tours, Alcatraz, Muir Woods/Sausalito, Attractions/Museums, Wine Country, and more. See their All San Francisco Tours.

As the outline makes apparent, the app lists:

-Everything in the 100 top experiences alphabetically, in SF A-Z
-Everything in an area or direction (such as Downtown SF or North to Marin County)
-Everything relevant for a special-interest category (such as Nature/Hikes or Culture/Museums)

For each entry, all the helpful practical travel information is included at the bottom in an If You Go set of details, including the area, website for more information, address, phone number, and price (if any).

Lee Foster hopes that this travel destination app makes your experience of San Francisco more enjoyable.

App Product Features, 500 characters max:

Lee Foster’s San Francisco Travel & Photo Guide offers:

-The 100 top travel experiences in the SF region
-An alphabetical list of these top choices
-A Google map showing where the choice are
-A text on why each subject is important
-Practical If You Go information for each (area, website, address, phone, price)
-Clickable links to external websites
-A photo of each subject by Lee Foster
-Photo tips for each subject in a Your Best Shot paragraph to create your own images
-Entries located in 10 areas of San Francisco, plus the nearby destinations north, east, and south
-Thematic lists of entries for special interests such as Culture/Museums

See Lee’s four Northern California books/ebooks on his Amazon Author Page.
See Lee’s books/ebooks
on his Amazon Author Page and in Independent Bookstores

Aside from the app, I publish books/ebooks about San Francisco and Northern California. One is titled The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco. My main book/ebook on Northern California is Northern California Travel: The Best Options. Those volumes, including some more on California, can be seen on my Amazon Author Page. My further books on Northern California are Back Roads California and Northern California History Weekends. One of my California books, Northern California Travel: The Best Options, is now available as an ebook in Chinese.

8 COMMENTS

  1. That’s fantastic! This is a fabulous tool for visitors, travelers and locals. Lee Foster is a leader in providing valuable information and tools for all that Northern California offers its residents and visitors. Thanks, Lee

  2. I have the old version, and it’s a thing of beauty. The new must be the essence of gorgeousity.

  3. Thank you, Lee. Your own fine app on Marin county was an example of a niche app that served many travelers well. I hope it can be resurrected in this new era.

  4. Jules, thank you for your comment. Few apps were as entertaining as your app on Food in San Francisco. I have your legacy app and I hope it can be returned to sale and enhance future travel for many people. Reading your app was like dining with a poet, dining with a wordsmith. You advance the art of verbal entertainment in apps to a high level. I have your legacy Auckland app also on an old iPhone also. May the phoenix rise.

  5. This is great. Love that you’re doing it and there has to be a need for something like this. Great info, by the way. Thanks…Wendy

  6. Thanks Wendy. I think a lot of folks will want travel with downloaded, fully-functional travel insights and info in apps on their phones. Using websites alone puts the traveler in a vulnerable position. What if there is no connectivity, which often happens in a dynamic travel situation?

  7. This looks incredible. Great photographs and lots of hugely helpful information. Thanks so very much!!!!

  8. Thanks, Ann. Yes, this first release of the app allows me to present one strong photo for each of the 120 sections. Later releases may include slideshows and videos and audio. The project will evolve, something quite positive about travel app technology. Once you’ve bought the app, you get lifetime updates for free.

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