Religious Cell Phone App Leverages GPS Tracking To Reach The Faithful

November 4, 2010

It is important to remember that people are not only using GPS in cell phones to make money or to keep people safe. They are also using it to improve their religious devotion. The following is story coming out of an Asian Roman Catholic news agency:

As the smartphone phenomenon gathers pace, religious groups in South Korea have been busy developing mobile applications to attract more young people.

Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists are taking the lead in providing free apps such as a GPS service for locating temples and churches or an application for studying religious scriptures.

Father Bartholomew Choi Gi-hong, who created an iPod broadcast service for Chunchon diocese, told on Nov. 2 that religious groups can reach young people in cyberspace with “impressive digital content.”

Father Choi, who is director of media in the diocese, stressed that religious authorities should recognize their faithful as “consumers of religious content in cyberspace.”

Early this year, Seoul archdiocese launched iPhone and Windows Mobile apps for Bible readings, hymns, information on saints, radio broadcast extracts and a Catholic address book.

In late October, the archdiocese started a mobile web service providing Bible information, daily Missal readings, prayers and churches, as well as a GPS tracking service to find the nearest parish.

It is also working to develop a liturgy app for the iPad.

Meanwhile, Buddhist groups are offering a ‘temple stay’ app introducing information on local temples and their programs. A free app for studying Buddhist scriptures is also available.

Protestants are trying to facilitate interactive communication with their flocks with various applications for Christian music, Bible reflection, homily video clips and Church news.

Father Choi said a report that “almost everyone will use a smart phone in 2-3 years” inspired him to launch iPod broadcasts in September.

He stressed that interactive cyberspace communication is possible and allows clerics to easily dialogue with young people and make their voices heard.

As you can see, GPS tracking technology integrates seamlessly with several other aims of the religious. The idea behind apps like these is make religious life never to far away from the cell phone user – whether that be some devotional material or a place of worship.

The main question is whether or not these tools will truly be effective in enhancing the piety and practice of the religious in their various manifestations. Will it be useful or just another bunch of technological nonsense.?


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