The Palm Beach International Boatshow (official hashtag #PBIBS) is fast approaching. We’ve been putting the free MyBoatShow app through its paces to see how much help it’ll be both before and during the show. The ads for the free app indicate that it’s available for both iPhone and Android. We searched for the app and found it easily on iTunes, then proceeded to download it to our iPhone 4.
When we first opened the app, we saw that it supported three other boat shows as well: The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, and The Yacht & Brokerage Show. The app indicated that these three other boat shows were already by gone events, so we clicked on the picture for the Palm Beach Show.
When we first opened the app, we saw these main category tabs:
- Event Description
- Show Schedule
- Location, Parking, Transport
The Event Description and all of the other items that follow are just static information items. They provide a very basic overview of show hours and location. The ticket feature takes you to the ticketing website that’s not optimized for mobile devices, so we suggest that you buy your tickets when you’re at your home computer or laptop.
It’s not until you click on the “Download” tab that things really get interesting. As soon as you tell the app to download, it seems to go out and search a vast database of information and then load it into your app. Once the downloading is complete (and it’s worth the wait!) a new tab appears, called: Search Boats, Exhibitors, Maps.
Click on this menu tab, and it expands into a whole new app with the following categories:
- Boat Search
- Event Maps
- Street Map
- Additional Options
These features offer a goldmine of information. Here’s our overview:
The event map provides an overview of the entire show, including docks, tents, street booths, and rest rooms. It’s just one big map, but on the iPhone we could easily zoom in and see details. The map uses generic icons for Food & Drink and Rest Room locations. It’s always nice to know where you need to go if you’re in a hurry for either! The map graphics get a bit grainy when you zoom in all the way, but in general, we really like the convenience of the map and ease of use. It provides an overview of the entire venue and will certainly come in handy as we try to orient ourselves during the show.
There’s also a Street Map tab that looks to be integrated with Google maps. Our guess is that when you’re on location, the street map will show you your actual position. This will come in handy for those among us who are navigationally challenged. (Uh, which way was north?).
Integration between Event Map and Exhibitor and Boat Info:
This is our favorite feature by far! The MyBoatShow app integrates information from the event map with data about where each exhibitor and boat is located. If you go the Exhibitor menu and find an exhibitor you want to see, you can go to the exhibitor details page. You’ll see a tab for Exhibitor Location. Click open the tab you’ll see the actual show location for the exhibitor. Now click on the location and, voila!, the event map pops up with an arrow pointing to where you can find that exhibitor’s booth. Now THAT’s a helpful feature. Instead of looking up the vendor in the show guide, trying to remember the location code, and thumbing back to find it on the map insert, the map points you right to the spot.
We really like the idea of being able to search through the boats and exhibitors beforehand and save them to our Favorites. On those evenings when we’re browsing the boats and we happen to find a magnificent Trumpy for sale, we can just tag it and add it to our Favorites list so that we remember to visit it during the show. But here’s the low point: for some odd reason, when you save a boat or exhibitor to your Favorites, the event location information isn’t captured. So now I have the Trumpy in my Favorites, but when I’m at the show and ready to go see that Trumpy, I don’t know where to find it! That’s too bad, because I can easily see the Trumpy’s location on the event map when I view it under the Boats tab. The location just isn’t copied when saving it to my Favorites. Bummer.
Exhibitor Search Categories:
The MyBoatShow app gives you the ability to search both boats and exhibitors. The boat search works pretty well. It let’s you search by size, type, sub-type, and manufacturer. You can search exhibitors as well, but you only have seven categories to choose from and they’re a bit odd. Using these categories probably isn’t going to help you find a particular business, so you’re left to scroll through the alphabetical listing.
All in all, this is nice app and will likely be very useful for general orientation at that show. That’s our quick overview of the MyBoatShow app. We’ll be at the show and we hope many of you will be too. Whether you go to the show or not, if you find a marine service provide that you’d like to tell others about, we invite you to visit us on the Virtual Dockside and write your review! Sharing your experiences with other boaters will help them make informed decisions about the marine services they choose to use in the future.