One Year Later: Mobile App in High Demand

Jorge Sans never thought he’d have a city of nearly 400,000 at his fingertips, but he does, courtesy of the City of Arlington Mobile Application he keeps on his trusty iPhone.

He’s found restaurants, shopped for sales, and even booked hotel reservations for out-of-town guests. Sans was able to do all those things, and more, at anytime and practically anywhere.

“My wife thinks I’m addicted but I tell her it’s a little like traveling with a directory,” said Sans.

Sans is not alone in his affection for the City of Arlington iPhone App, which debuted this month last year, just in time for the 100,000 fans flooding Arlington for Super Bow XLV.

One of the goals then, said Deputy City Manager Trey Yelverton, was to provide those visitors with “an easy, accessible guide” helping them navigate an unfamiliar city.

Digital Media Editor Michael Nimocks remembers going into the launch with modest expectations – 500 downloads by May of that year would have been deemed promising. Who would have thought the download total would be slightly over 500 – in one day.

Since then, the iPhone and Android City App has grown in popularity, featuring all sorts of on-the-run access to entertainment (What’s playing at Cowboys Stadium?), recreation (When is the Kite Festival?), and even breaking news, with residents having a direct link to government services.

Unlike a number of other city apps that are merely mobile versions of their website, this smart phone application has wowed users by integrating GPS technology that instantly routes users to any city facility or business.

On its one-year anniversary, well over 30,000 people have downloaded the app, with this surprising kicker: some are from cities like San Francisco.

“Our desire with the app was to have a mobile presence, something other than the web site, that was easy to navigate with smart phones,” said Nimocks. “The first incarnation had tools for residents but it has really expanded. Now you have the ability to do things like register for activities at a recreation center through the parks department or book a tee time at a municipal golf course.”

One well-used feature is a continually updated calendar that gives a quick snapshot of what’s going on in the City. It’s so accessible you can pull it up by category. A click on the event gives you the who-what-where particulars – “everything you need to know on the event,” said Nimocks. There are even maps to get you there.

The latest features include a landing page where you can access a dozen of the most commonly used portions of the app and links to the City’s various social media like Facebook and Twitter.

“It has evolved and is still evolving,” Nimocks said. “We definitely see it as a success. I don’t think there’s been a day when someone somewhere didn’t download the app.”