A tipster alerted us to a new iPhone application that helps folks downrange in Afghanistan get up to speed quickly on local culture, politics, provincial stats and levels of violence.
Called MobiAFG, the app was designed by academics at the Naval Post Graduate School in Rhode Island Monterey, Calif.-- the Leavenworth of the Sea Services. These guys are top notch researchers and have in some cases lead the way in increasing the military's understanding of Iraqi and Afghan culture in a nuanced counterinsurgency fight.
While the app is a good start, it's just not there yet both in its user interface and information.
I gave it a whirl this past weekend and while gratified that at least someone is trying to create applications for this awesome device that can be more than entertainment, the MobiAFG is pretty low brow for anyone but the most clueless on Afghanistan.
Most of the data is thrown-together PDF files from other research outlets adapted for a smartphone screen. And a lot of the data is old. The section on violent incidents in Afghanistan is from 2007 -- which might as well be 1990 since the situation has changed so much in the last three years. All it is is a cobbled together PDF file from ISAF. I know for a fact there is a much more current one floating around out there so they could have easily used that.
There's no visual artistry in the layout and pages are incongruous. It made me wonder why I didn't just google the info and view it on my mobile Safari browser -- it might have actually been more current and rendered better.
Give MobiAFG a look (it's free) and see for yourself...but I can bet you'll delete it until there's a slicker update.
(Thanks to PL for the heads up)