July 6, 2010 By News Report
There seem to be no signs of slowing for transit apps in New York City. In the wake of local award-winning apps such as WayFinder NYC comes the latest tech tool for smartphone-toting travelers in the Big Apple: NYCMate.
Released for the iPhone and Android platforms, NYCMate is a free transit app that allows users to view the officially licensed Metropolitan Transit Authority New York City Bus, Subway and Neighborhood maps. Its designers, Densebrain Inc. and episode6, joined forces with the idea of using existing technologies to help New Yorkers get around without having to pay for public data. Less than a week after initial deployment, more than 290,200 people have taken advantage of the tool, according to the designers.
"NYC residents and constituents have been in need of a free transit tool to aid them with all of their travel concerns for some time," said Jonathan Glanz, principal and founder of Densebrain. "While we are obviously in business to make money, this seemed like the wrong product to charge for. We simply hope the city appreciates us giving back a bit."
Users can pinch or double tap to zoom, tap a station to view upcoming times (offline), and view the neighborhood maps with just a single tap. With so many maps, the app was designed to be simple so travelers won't get lost trying to access information, according to Danika Landers, partner and creative director at Densebrain.
A similar app, WayFinder NYC, won the grand prize in the city's first NYC BigApps competition earlier this year. But instead of downloading transit maps to the phone, WayFinder NYC helps users locate the nearest subway station by looking through their camera display on Android phones with an overlay of GIS data.
Video: NYCMate iPhone Demo
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.