With the arrival of the third generation iPad, Barefoot Books’s first app, The Barefoot World Atlas, is one of only a handful optimized to take advantage of the new retina display. That’s only fitting given that the atlas app, which allows children to spin an interactive 3-D globe, view historical objects, and get live country facts, including the weather, is jointly published with Touch Press, creator of The Elements app, one of the first apps available for the original iPad. And both the atlas app and Siri, the personal assistant the iPhone 4S, rely on the Wolfram Alpha knowledge engine, to update facts. Apple has already named the atlas the App of the Week in the U.K., where both Touch Press and Barefoot have offices, as well as the U.S., home to Barefoot.
“No one brings the iPad alive like Touch Press, and we are honored to partner with them to deliver this ground-breaking app,” says Barefoot cofounder and CEO Nancy Traversy, who first met Stephen Wolfram, director of Touch Press and founder of Wolfram Alpha nearly two years ago. “One of the things we had been thinking about,” says Traversy was how to turn The World Atlas [which came out in hardcover last fall] into more than two dimensions. One of our main goals is it wasn’t meant to be a political rendering.”
Although the Atlas app contains information on population, weather, currency, and animals, which can be drilled down by country, John Cromie, cto of Touch Press, calls the political boundaries “a secondary layering. The core of it is a beautiful painted world.” The app’s holistic view of the earth and the interconnectedness of people and countries is intended to show that everyone can coexist. The audioscape also changes as children move from country to country or region to region.
The timing of The Barefoot World Atlas app, which is available for $7.99 at the App Store, couldn’t have been better for selling rights. Currently it’s available in the U.S. in American English and in the U.K. in British English and has been narrated by BBC presenter and geographer Nick Crane, who also wrote The Barefoot World Atlas. The animated illustrations are by artist David Dean, who illustrated the book. Traversy will be demoing it on her iPad at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.