PITTSBURGH PA – Traveling to municipal parks in the city of Pittsburgh could soon be as easy as launching an app on a smartphone.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is developing a free mobile application that will help users navigate and enjoy Pittsburgh’s five largest city parks: Schenley, Frick, Highland, Riverview and Emerald View. It will be tested this fall and winter, and is expected to be publicly available during Spring 2013.
The app is intended make Pittsburgh’s parks more accessible and user-friendly, especially to those who are not experienced park users. “The main goal behind this exciting new app is to engage more people in our large parks,” said Meg Cheever, conservancy president. “Trails and heavily wooded areas offer some of the best park experiences and opportunities for exercise and enjoyment, but these areas can also be the most daunting for someone not familiar with our large urban parks. We see this mobile app as a real game changer in that regard.”
Funding for the project is being provided by UPMC Health Plan, and the app will be designed by a Pittsburgh-based firm, Deeplocal. A partnership between UPMC and the conservancy promotes the city’s parks as a resource to improve the health of the Pittsburgh community. UPMC’s marketing efforts are based on the belief that active park use leads to a healthier lifestyle.
The conservancy surveyed its members while creating the app concept, and information it collected drove its early functionality. When asked how respondents would use an app in the park, more than 90 percent indicated park trail information and navigation were priorities, making it the app’s main feature.
Other desired features include finding restrooms, learning about events in the parks, and reporting problems. Teams of conservancy volunteers are going beyond directional navigation and distance by offering first-person trail descriptions, such as unique views and features, and whether trails are appropriate for bikes or strollers.
Deeplocal has won international recognition for its work in app design. It created the Nike Chalkbot, and in Pittsburgh is known for the ParkPGH app, which helps drivers find open parking spaces downtown.
Photo from Google Images