Placeum: the app bringing Bristol closer to its inhabitants

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By Flossie Palmer, Features Editor

In the spirit of all things freshers, Epigram has deep-dived into the most interactive Bristolian map yet; Placeum. Epigram's Features Editor spoke to its creator for the full run-down.

Launched in June earlier this year, Placeum is an interactive map created by developer, Sam Green, with the main aim of allowing people - whether they are tourists, incoming students or born and bred residents - to get to know Bristol better.

Placeum began its development journey by starting out as a website, developed by Sam two years prior to the app. However, as Sam admitted, 'It had app written all over it!' Now in its streamlined app form and accessible from the App Store and Google Play on Apple and Android devices, Placeum is a staple for both exploring Bristol and learning more about its infamous sights.

Source: Placeum App/Screenshot

The map acts as a more entertaining, more accessible version of Google Maps. While using the app, users can see 25 red pins dotted around the map of Bristol. Alongside pin-pointing significant landmarks and popular places, Sam has recorded audio clips to match each location.

Each audio clip lasts between two and three minutes, providing a brief overview of the location's significance to Bristol culture, and an insight into its historical background. However, some of the more prominent locations have an entire audio series dedicated to them, such as the Bristol Riots which took place in Queens Square in 1831, which has 12 audio clips under its pin!

The beauty of the app, however, is that you can learn more about the city surrounding you without the obligation of listening to an hour-long podcast. The short, two to three minute clips give you a bitesize chunk of Bristol, but just enough to fulfil your appetite.

Source: Placeum App/Screenshot

‘If you are a visitor to Bristol and you are new to the city, you do not want to be overwhelmed!' explained app developer, Sam Green, ‘If the app covered every part of the county, it might not be as useful for you. Ideally, while using the app, you want the journey between pins to be walkable.'

With this in mind, Placeum places its Bristol focus largely on the city centre. Considering that most University of Bristol student accomodation outside of the North Village is located in Clifton and Bristol City Centre, the app serves as a convenient guide for freshers in getting to know their new home city.

That being said, Placeum also provides coverage for popular areas outside of the city centre, such as Ashton Court Estate, located near the National Trust site of Leigh Woods. For incoming students, who usually have a small radius of Bristol awareness - conforming for the most part to the student bubble of Clifton, Redland and Bristol City Centre - this pin-pointing of locations beyond the bubble encourages new students to step outside of their comfort zone.

Source: Placeum App/Screenshot

Placeum is also inclusive for its users. Different learning types have been considered in the creation of the app. Aural learners can benefit from the audio clips recorded, while visual learners can explore the city both through examining the interactive map on mobile and Bristol's most historic landmarks in real life. As Sam noted, most interactive maps and mobile tours do not include the audio interactivity that Placeum does: ‘If you can look at something, touch it and listen about it too, it all adds to the experience!’

With a two week stretch of Welcome Week activities ahead, why not give getting to know your new university city a go with Placeum. Unbeknownst to most, there is a wealth of history, unique quirks and a rich cultural backdrop at your doorstep, waiting to be explored.

Featured Images: Placeum App

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