Local "Wednesday Sun" features Best Road Trip Ever on the front page!

Alex Bonham-Carter/SUN PHOTO Kelly Ludwig, Ludwig Design, presents her GPS-based travel application ‘Best Road Trip Ever.’ The app, designed with the help of Propaganda-3 and KCPT, works with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. It documents destinations for folk art in the United States among other attractions.

Travel app features art, sights, eateries 

WEDNESDAY, 07 JULY 2010 00:00

Sun screen, check. Snacks, check. Luggage, check. Travel app, click.

Vacationing got easier and quirkier this month with “Best Road Trip Ever!” a new GPS-based travel application.

“You can literally drive with your finger – digit driving,” Kelly Ludwig, Ludwig Design, said. “It has everything in it. It’s chalked full. It’s great for road trips.”

Ludwig developed “Best Road Trip Ever!” in collaboration with Propaganda-3 and Kansas City Public Television.

While she does not advise driving and searching the app simultaneously, she wants travelers to have fun exploring with their new finger-friendly app, which features more than 6,500 off-beat attractions, self-taught artists, sights and eateries across the country.

“It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s hokey, it’s inspirational,” she said.

The $3.99 app, launched June 4, is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Ludwig said “Best Road Trip Ever” is the perfect traveling companion for families on vacation, RV enthusiasts, motorcyclists, college students on spring break, truckers, recreational vehicle enthusiasts, traveling salespeople, artists and anyone willing to detour to the quirky side of life.

Ludwig said the app includes unusual collections, large sculptures, grottos, folk art environments, carvings and out-of-the-way eateries, including 500 airstream diners across the country and numerous “Best of” barbecue and roadside diners.

“It will open their eyes to the possibilities,” she said. “People are people. They are creators, inspired to make art and appreciate art.”

Ludwig, who volunteers with KCPT’s “Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations,” regularly detours to off-the-beaten path environs. Ludwig said she has been building her database of unusual places and art for almost six years but began developing the app last year. She said the app combines locales and videos from “Rare Visions,” her database, and the digital expertise of Propaganda-3, a digital production company, which she said made everything work.

“I give lots and lots of credit to Prop-3,” Ludwig said.

Cello Vergara, Propaganda-3 principal, said “Best Road Trip Ever” is the eighth app the company has produced and he is pleased with the results.

“It was certainly a labor of love,” he said. “It’s the app I had hoped it would be. We’re pretty proud of it.”

Vergara said he had fun on a train trip to St. Louis using the app, which led him and his son to a children’s museum. He said the team will update the app continuously to keep it current and add more game mechanics.

“To make it a little more adventurous and (use) the ability to capture and add in new information,” he said.

Angie Simmons, KCPT executive producer, said the new app keeps the station on the cutting-edge of technology. She said KCPT would like to develop a programming application to let viewers locate online and on-air programs.

“We definitely are looking at this as part of our model,” she said. “Part of what we do every day in our business is we have things on air, online and in your hand.”

Simmons said local application developers like Propaganda-3 show that new applications do not happen only in California and New York.

“We can do really cool things here,” she said. “There are a lot of really talented people here, like Cello’s team and Kelly Ludwig. They are all just amazing folks, and they’re right here in our home town.”