Category Archives: Apps

CityGrid Publisher Showcase: UpNext Maps

There are lot of exciting new mapping startups popping up, and one of the coolest new companies is a CityGrid Publisher. UpNext Maps was started in 2007 by four high school friends who wanted to make better maps, and living in New York City and seeing a need for a better way to explore and discover their great city, and decided leverage their experience in the video game industry to create vibrant, immersive maps that better reflected the world we live in.

Using their mapping engine the team has created:

  • UpNext Maps - Maps redefined. Fully searchable tappable, beautiful maps for the entire United States. Over 50 cities rendered in 3D with 23 enhanced 3D cities with full textures and roadways. Interactive 3D maps for exploring and discovering cities. Our maps are fast, seamless and smooth. UpNext HD Mpas takes mapping to the next level with rich visual detail and personalized options.
  • UpNext 3D Cities - The most advanced real-time 3d map for mobile encourages you to explore your city like never before. UpNext 3d Cities offers tappable buildings, detailed venue information, reviews, fun personalization options, and up-to-date subway lines. All of this is achieved in a super-smooth, slick experience.
  • Super Bowl SLV - The Official Guide – Experience the Super Bowl like never before! Together with the NFL, UpNext developed the official NFL Super Bowl XLV mobile guide for iOS and Android devices. The app featured a detailed 3-D map of Downtown Dallas and Cowboys Stadium including a fully rendered stadium interior.

The UpNext team has taken CityGrid Places data via our API and showed what is possible when you really want push forward the definition of what it means to explore the cities, businesses and places around you.

While Google Maps definitely revolutionized how we interact with the world online, UpNext Maps is a glimpse of what the future of mapping and interactive exploration of our cities will look like.

CityGrid Publisher Showcase: Mobile Local Search Component from Verious

Mobile-ready software component marketplace, Verious has launched a new local search mobile component any mobile developer can use in their own apps.

The Local search component would be a perfect addition to city guide applications, restaurant review apps, local deals apps, real-estate apps, and handles all of the real-time calls, back-end content parsing, data presentation and caching necessary to bring the store locator functionality into a native mobile app.

The component is integrated with the CityGrid Places API, providing access to 15M local businesses and over 1M local advertisers in the US.

Component features include:

  • Search bar UI widget – easily integrates with your app
  • Location Awareness – defaults to current location, but user can change location
  • Combined Map / Listings View – takes advantage of iPad’s large screen
  • Coupon that can be saved to gallery
  • Built-in Social Sharing

This component also has comprehensive configuration options so you can change the look and feel to best match your application’s user interface, allowing developers to configure the following aspects:

  • Branded header
  • Frame color
  • Coupon

The local mobile search component from Verious provides a quick, yet powerful way for developers to deploy local search using CityGrid places into their mobile apps. The component is one of thousands of modules, mobile developers can take advantage of on the Verious platform.

CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack: Parse

In February I’m spending more time building, what I’ve dubbed the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack, a list of APIs, platforms and tools that you can use in your local-mobile applications.

Of course CityGrid PlacesOffersReviews andAdvertising are first in that stack, but I want to identify other APIs, tools and platforms that can also assist you in quickly building your mobile app.

As I add items to this stack. I will showcase them one by one here on the blog. The next one on my list is Parse, which offers a pretty impressive data storage, push notifications and user management platform for your mobile backend.

Parse is looking to provide a single platform for your mobile backend, providing a single cloud interface for:

  • Data Storage – Providing native SDKs for iPhone and Android ORM data storage platform, allowing objects to be stored and retrieved as needed.
  • Push Notifications – A standardized push notification platform across iPhone and Android, overcoming the headaches of each individual platforms notification system.
  • User Management – Nobody likes having to rewrite your own user management system, so parse provides one that securely allows you to sign up, login and manage users across multiple devices.

At first glance I thought Parse was just another back-end for iOS or Android mobile applications, but I see they have a robust REST API, that can be used in mobile web apps as well. This means you can access the same users, data storage and take advantage of push notifications in your mobile web, or just the web version of your applications platform.

The REST API opens up the playing field and lets you interact with Parse from anything that can send an HTTP request, some examples they provide are:

  • A mobile website can access Parse data from Javascript.
  • A webserver can show data from Parse on a website.
  • You can upload large amounts of data that will later be consumed in a mobile app.
  • You can download recent data to run your own custom analytics.
  • Applications written in any programming language can interact with data on Parse.
  • You can export all of your data if you no longer want to use Parse.

Native app usage is definitely growing with more smart phone usage, but bridging the worlds between multiple devices as well as on the web is critical. Parse making the decision to provide a REST interface to your mobile back-end is smart.

Parse seems to be truly about making mobile app developers lives easier, with constant improvements coming down the pipes, like syncing, realtime push, and analytics soon — all without having to develop, maintain, and deploy complicated server code.

I’m adding Parse to the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack and will be weaving more of their services into what we offer here in the CityGrid Developer Center as well as our hackathon tools.