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New independently-produced iPhone app from Adam Schwabe show riders when next streetcar arrives

A new iPhone application called Rocket Radar shows TTC riders when the next streetcar will arrive at their stop. The application was developed and designed independently by Toronto interactive designer Adam Schwabe and is on sale at the iPhone App Store for $1.99.

Schwabe says that he'd been wanting for some time to create an application that would answer the question "Where's my streetcar?" (He notes wryly that sometimes the phrase would contain crude expletives.) But he says, "It wasn't until the City of Toronto and TTC released the Next Vehicle Arrival feed late last year at http://www.toronto.ca/open that the app became feasible." The feed provides real-time GPS data from streetcars in a format that allows independent developers to then use it in various other formats.

Schwabe works days as a designer for Teehan+Lax and developed the app in his spare time. For this project assembled a team including Jason S„o Bento, who executed the visual design, and Mohammad Kurabi and Jeremy Koch at nFuse Inc. to develop the application. Schwabe says the total time from rough sketches to finished product was about two months.

Schwabe says the data made available from the city was "absolutely critical" to delivering a project like this. "This is one of the best things the City of Toronto and TTC have done in years." He says he hopes this will be one of many apps that capitalize on the data initiative. "City officials need to recognize that Toronto is full of extremely talented designers and developers who are eager to build really cool applications, and just need the data to do so."

Schwabe says sales in the first week since the project launched have been "outstanding," topping the Navigation category in Canada on iTunes. He says that in many ways the project was a test for him to see how viable creating such an app with no up-front capital would be. Up next? "There's been a surprising amount of demand for an Android application, but for now, my plan is continue improving Rocket Radar, then I'll have some time to breathe and think about other platforms and future app ideas."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Adam Schwabe, Rocket Radar
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