Innovation That Matters

Navigation app encourages travelers to get lost

Travel & Tourism

Kompl encourages tourists explore urban spaces, by navigating them via landmarks and popular attractions, rather than direct routes.

While traditional navigation apps are designed to provide users with a clear route, many now focus on alternative functions. Walkonomics guides walkers through the most treelined path, while Rudder shows the best-lit roads to those navigating at night time. New app, Kompl, works by showing users where a venue is in relation to them along with information about the place, without providing a map or route to get there.


As they gets closer to the destination, users find out more about where they’re going. At the same time, information about other nearby places may pop up, encouraging tourists to discover things they hadn’t intended to. Aimed at travelers looking for unique experiences, the navigation app works both online and offline and accesses multiple sources — amongst them Foursquare and Wikipedia — showing users destinations that are popular and highly rated but without leading them directly there. In their own words, Kompl was created to “nudge its users out of their comfort zone, creating a journey that is unique while fostering a new understanding of their urban environment.”

Covering urban spaces from Rome to Timbuktu, the app now spans 22 cities and is looking to expand to New York and Tokyo. Babak Fakhamzadeh and Ian Barry, the team behind Kompl, aim to provide a framework for tourists to veer off the beaten track. Are there other ways to help tourists get lost while remaining en route?



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