Program not yet available for all smart phones
The City of Calgary parks and transportation departments have launched a brand new mobile smart phone application, or app, to assist Calgary cyclists in navigating the bicycle pathways.
According to the city, Calgary has the most extensive pathway in North America, and the new app is intended to make navigation of the 700 kilometers of path easier by using a cyclist’s phone rather than the cumbersome hardcopy map. This addition makes cycling a little more environmentally viable as well.
The map included on the app is based on the 2009-11 pathways and bikeways map from the city’s parks department, and includes regularly updated interactive features like detour routes and closures, safety messages, information about parks, and links to Twitter and Facebook, says a Parks Calgary press release.
Photo: Vanessa Gillard/Calgary JournalIt took about two months to develop the app and cost $9,700 said Corinna Baxter, media representative for Parks Calgary.
This is the first of two phases for the app, but it seems some hurdles are still being worked out in terms of the technological side of the service.
Because of the large file size, the app cannot be downloaded directly to a user’s phone and must either be accessed from a Wi-Fi connection or downloaded onto a user’s computer, and then the phone has to be synced to download the app to the phone.
The app is also only available to those with iPhones and iPods, but is available for free on iTunes or the city’s website.
Phase 2 of the application will see enhancements to the app, including expanding availability to other smart phones like Blackberry and Android, said Baxter, adding that the city has no budget prepared or plans to go ahead with Phase 2 at this point.
Cyclepath Bikes manager Clayton Horak said he thinks the new app will be convenient for cyclists.
“We are getting a lot of people asking for pathway maps that aren’t easily available right now,” said Horak. “So yeah, I think it will be very useful; everyone I know now carries a phone with them.
“It just makes more sense to put something on your phone than to carry a big bulky map.”