Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

FactBook unites nation-reference resources

by Tim McLain

For many years, novice online researchers have relied on two free online sources of nation data and reference facts: CIA World Fact Book and the United Nations.

Taken together, this pair of sources provide sometimes-dated but always spot-on data to kick-start basic research needs for dozens of countries around the globe. Now FactBook ties this pair together via a clean, user-friendly interface right on your Droid.

For many users, the app will prove useful as a time-killer or to simply learn something new about a country of interest. Tapping into basic information about a region or individual country's economy, population, government or geography is a breeze.

That said, if you're looking for research-quality data that's up-to-date and editor-reviewed, FactBook is a poor choice. For-pay resources like CultureGrams have editors who update country reports and their supporting data sets every few months, while gathering intelligence from locals on the ground in more than 200 countries.

Still, once the developers enable "move to SD card" the resource-hogging FactBook app will again be loaded onto my Droid for casual use whenever the mood strikes.