The Big Apps come to Vancouver

Disappointed I hadn’t found this out sooner… Turns out the winners of New York’s Big Apps competition have created a Vancouver version of the winning application.

Steven Lao and Victor Sima, creators of the Android phone application Wayfinder, won “Best Overall Application” and prize money of US$5000. The Wayfinder application is an augmented reality application that enables you to use your Android phone’s camera to locate the nearest bus stop, subway station or seabus station.

So what does “augmented reality” mean? Take a look at the image below (this is the Wayfinder application in action).

This is image is what you would see looking at your phone’s screen. The screen is showing whatever building or road (or anything) that the phone’s camera is point at, but then is superimposing a “bubble” that hovers over the nearest actual subway or bus station (In this case it is 0.4 miles as the crow flies, through the building you’r looking at). This means you can simple use your phone to scan around an locate the nearest bus stop with out having to figure out where you are on a map.

Since Vancouver is hosting the Winter Olympics and because Translink made the deft move of sharing its transit data the Wayfinder programmers decided to create a Vancouver version – something they were able to do even though they never visited Vancouver.

You can learn more about Wayfinder in a recent audio interview with Directions Magazine available as a podcast. (H/T to Jonathan M. at the City of Vancouver who pointed this out to me!)

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