The American Museum of Natural History in New York City has launched a free app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad called Explorer.
The Explorer app uses Wi-Fi to act as an "indoor GPS" within the museum, pinpointing a user's location and offering turn-by-turn directions through more than 500,000 square feet that features 45 permanent exhibition halls, theaters, restrooms, cafs, and museum shops.
The Explorer is also an educational resource that provides visitors with additional information on more than 140 specimens and objects on display, including such iconic exhibits as the blue whale and the Tyrannosaurus rex. The Explorer features customized tours, a fossil treasure hunt, and social media links for posting to Facebook and Twitter.
The Explorer runs on the museum's free Wi-Fi network. Users will be able to download the app to their own iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or to borrow one of more than 350 devices the Museum is making available at no charge.
"We wanted to put the latest mobile technology in visitors' hands and provide them with an app that works not only as a personal navigation system but also gives an exciting look at our collections from anywhere in the world, connecting to social networks through email, Twitter, and Facebook," said Linda Perry-Lube, senior vice president and chief digital officer at the Museum.
"The task of building a system capable of mapping visitors' locations inside of the Museum was monumental and has laid the groundwork for future development. Explorer sets the standard for a new type of Museum experience in the digital age."