Lonely Planet Writer

Wondering what you're flying over? Window seat app identifies landmarks from 35,000 feet

The window seat of an airplane provides passengers with a bird’s-eye view of cities, mountains, lakes and rivers below – but identifying them from 35,000 feet can be a major problem.

What's that landmark on the ground? Now a new app helps you find out
What’s that landmark on the ground? Now a new app helps you find out Image by Yogesh Mhatre / CC BY 2.0

A new app has been introduced to help passengers to both recognise and explore the various landmarks below while they travel to their destination. The Flyover Country app is on sale now and is also being developed further to give passengers more comprehensive data on what they can see. The man behind the concept, Shane Loeffler, told the Smithsonian that he found himself in the position of looking down on geological features and landscapes and wondering what he was flying over.

The view from 35,000 feet.
The view from 35,000 feet. Image by francois Schnell / CC BY 2.0

The Daily Telegraph reports that his app uses both geological and paleontological databases, as well as Wikipedia information to furnish users with knowledge. They can look out for features from the plane’s window, while comparing the view to the app which tags onto a map corresponding to the area they are flying over. The app doesn’t need to be purchased via in-flight Wi-Fi because it can be seen offline after the passengers have inputted their flight path.

Most window seat passengers will be tempted to upload for the journey in advance while social media enthusiasts who already like taking snaps through the windows will now be able to attach identity information with their photos. A co-developer Amy Myrbo, who is also geologist at the University of Minnesota, said the founder described it as a “sort of a planetarium for the Earth.” She claimed that it is a wonderful way to encourage people to learn about the sciences. They hope to develop the concept with up to a dozen more data sources over the coming months, she added.