Since its establishment in 1888 by a dedicated group of explorers, scientists and academics, the National Geographic Society has been dedicated to inspiring people to care about the planet we all share. Its mission: to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world's cultural, historical, and natural resources. As one of the largest, non-profit, scientific and educational institutions in the world, it promotes these values through educational programs, environmental and cultural conservation projects, exploration and research. From its base in Washington, D.C, the society has become an internationally recognized brand, with a strong web presence, multiple TV channels, and a range of monthly magazines available worldwide.
Our brief was to design and build an innovative educational tablet application for Windows8, reflecting the core values of the National Geographic Society, and utilizing the enormous information resources the society has amassed during its 125 year history. For this, our third engagement with National Geographic, we offered a full end-to-end service, designing and building the application from the ground up, including development, graphic design, and user experience testing.
What makes this application unique is its interactive 3D globe, powered by DirectX (a technology more often found in gaming applications), which features complete, geospatially correct mapping using custom mapping tiles. The user can spin the 3D globe along any axis with a simple swipe, and zoom in on any country. Touch a country, and a detailed information tile will launch, providing a wealth of facts, figures, and travel advice concerning that location. There’s even a built-in currency converter.
With integrated GPS functionality, and the option of purchasing downloadable maps from National Geographic’s comprehensive and exclusive library, users can engage with the application even when not connected to the internet, and be certain they’ll always know exactly where they are in the world. Using DirectX technology as the basis for this application made it one of the more technically challenging apps we’ve worked on, and we put a huge amount of effort into achieving a fluid, top-tier performance that belies the complexity of the project. Analytics for the project were provided by our partner Localytics.