Best Apps for Diplomats 2011

What are the apps that will help diplomats as well as international relations majors alike in understanding the world?  (Hint:  They don’t come from the State Dept, at least not yet.)

We’ll assume that you are already reading feeds and mags on Flipboard, watching documentaries and important films on Netflix, and reading longform articles on Instapaper and keeping track of things on Evernote.  Also, you should store and share via Dropbox.  Other expected installs:  SkypeKindle ReaderFacebookYelp, and Twitter.

With an eye toward the iPad as a power tool for content consumption, analysis, and even now more involved in production–here are some picks:

  1. Word Lens: [free, iTunes Preview] You can’t negotiate if you can’t understand what someone is saying and this app uses the camera’s lens to capture and translate text sans net connection.  This type of app will only get better, but for now this is a useful tool for occasional use.  (Also, consider Google Translate for heavy lifting).
  2. Google Earth: [free, iTunes Preview] An obvious choice because you can’t cover the world if you don’t know your Kyrgistan form your Kazakhstan.
  3. GoodReader: [$5] Turn your tablet into a document workhorse as you file, annotate, and get work done from first drafts to final markups.  This app is one of the best for working with PDFs.
  4. Press Reader:  [free, iTunes Preview] With 95 countries in 51 languages, keep up on foreign press coverage with over 2,000 full-content papers.  According to Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh of the Patterson School in Kentucky, “PressReader gives the students access to more than 1,700 daily papers on their iPad and we have already explored how to use this app to enhance classroom instruction and the program overall. In the classroom, this will be tied to sharpening student’s analytic skills.” via The iPad Apps That Diplomats Will Use | WebProNews.
  5. Teleprompt+:  [$14.99, iTunes Preview] Industry standard and an important tool for formal public speaking.
  6. FlightTrackPro: [$10] A favorite of the NYT technology guru David Pogue, this app gives you everything you need to know about a flight–and if there is one thing globetrotters need to master it would be international travel.
  7. TED for iPad [free, iTunes Preview] Keep up on the latest, greatest ideas, trends, and talks from the place that curates the best of ’em dealing with politics, economics, society, culture, art, technology, and more.
  8. Words With Friends:  [$.99, iTunes Preview]  Your job involves building trust with strangers and you are definitely a word person–working on demarches, speeches, and treaties, to mention a few examples.  So what better way to blow off steam than to play the online game that isn’t Scrabble–but looks a lot like it–online.  Just don’t forget to obey the flight attendant’s instructions when on board to stay out of trouble.

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