From Engaging Cities:

A new mobile discovery network, Trover, gives users the chance to introduce local explorers to hidden gems right outside their door. Trover is a free smartphone app, which is also accessible from its web site at  The app is designed for sharing discoveries, interesting things to see or do, in your city or a city you happen to be visiting, in order to help someone else enjoy the discovery just as you did. In other words, it’s a place exploration tool.

Photos are the backbone of the app that allow one to view a city’s scenes in a creative way and instantaneously get insight through the details users post as well.

How it works

When I log into Trover and select “Nearby,” I am presented with images that are all around my current location. My neighbors or visitors to my area have snapped these pictures with a sense of purpose: to share their favorite surroundings. This might be shots of food plates with restaurant information and an opinion to go along with the photo, or a local bike path. As a “trover,” users can post remarkable places and things by snapping a photo and adding a quick note to identify a sale at shoe store or what’s been planted in the community garden flourishing nearby.

Discovering intriguing architecture, unique park benches, and hidden trails are just the type of curiosity that creators of Trover, Rich Barton, Andrew Coldham and Jason Karas, are intending for users to discover. “Discoveries” within Trover are the interesting things to see or do. If a discovery piques your interest, you can click on it to see more details, read what others are saying about it, or pose a question to the person who made the discovery.

Spacial Organizing

Since the information is organized in a spatial way, it’s like stepping out your door, as the results begin with those closest to you and get further away. For instance, I am viewing wonders that are .02 miles from me, then 1.1, and so forth. I can also track the paths of interesting people by following them. And, if you are wondering what a faraway neighborhood holds, you can also use the app to display images from cities and neighborhoods across the country.

Hyper local influencers are sharing “the best of” their surroundings and are obviously proud of their neighborhood. Instead of merely liking a photo you will be “thanking” those whose discoveries you benefited from. Discoveries that receive many thanks votes, comments and views are all contenders for the Featured tab. Discoveries that introduce users and site administrators to something particularly unique and cool, or showcase a fun new way to use Trover , are also likely to appear on the Featured tab. Furthermore, rather than emphasizing personal achievements like some location-based apps do, Trover is devoted to helping citizens learn more about real and captivating places.

South by Southwest Interactive recently nominated Trover for a Community Award since it connects people with personal guides who are experts on a precise place and its hidden gems.

About the Author

Chris Haller

Founder and CEO at Urban Interactive Studio

Chris Haller heads up Urban Interactive Studio (UIS), a technology consulting firm specializing in web and mobile solutions for urban planning agencies and firms. He’s the founder of where he helps urban planners understand and use the Internet and gives practical advice.