By Andria Krewson and Corey Inscoe
Take a look at four smart-phone apps and a gorgeous, detailed map available to help journalists get around during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
The official DNC 2012 host committee app, made by AT&T Services, offers slick ways of pushing out information also generally available on the host committee’s website, like unique videos made by Charlotteans about Charlotte, and also offers more features like Google maps with restaurants and venues marked and integrated with basic information and a web link. You can mark as a favorite a restaurant, or a blog post or a video to store them on a separate tab for later.
The phone also has a “Make it possible for me … ” function, where you can choose to be a hipster (yes, a hipster) or “farm to fork foodie” or “museum/art lover,” tying into an activity of a certain duration and within a certain radius. The function essentially gives you a calendar or entertainment listing, and the icons are rather amusing (a mustache and glasses represents a hipster, and a bicycle represents outdoor activities). Cost: free.
The National Journal’s app, called Re:Con Conventions, includes information about both the Democratic and Republican conventions, including a list of delegate hotels and an events listing laid out in a tabbed calendar format by day, with events listings I haven’t seen anywhere else. The Journal appears to have partnered with DemList for some content and includes its own events, of course. It also has news, photos of key figures, integration with Google maps and the ability to quickly add events to phone calendars. It’s shorter on specific city information, but the calendar content for national organizations holding events in Charlotte is quite valuable. Cost: free.
Bloomberg’s convention app, made in conjunction with Event Farm, lets convention visitors swap tickets to events and helps event planners distribute tickets to individuals, groups or sponsors. It also shares Bloomberg news and integrates its Google maps with Yelp listings. (If you don’t allow it to use your current location, the maps don’t know where to go, though, displaying “Orlando” for me in Charlotte. I’d love more transparency and a toggle on-off switch for sharing my location with some of these apps, for when I’m home versus when I’m out.) You can get all the details from Folio. It requires you to set up an account with Event Farm before you can use the app (it asks for your phone number but doesn’t require it). It also integrates with Facebook and Twitter and has a search function for events. The icons and design are intuitive, using forms similar to mobile gmail, and you can add events listings to your very own schedule, integrated with your mobile calendar. (Tiny thing: the Charlotte version is called “My 2012 CTL” in its short form on the app’s icon and within the app in a few places. Charlotte is “CLT,” not “CTL.”) Cost: free.
Charlotte Observer DNC 2012 app: The Charlotte Observer released its own Democratic National Convention App earlier this week. It is available now for Android phones and should also be available on the iPhone soon. iPhone or Safari desktop users can access the app now at www.conventioncharlotte.com. (Doesn’t work for Firefox 14.0.1 yet, it appears. Works for Safari and Chrome.)
The app features news and information about the convention from Observer staff writers and wire services. In addition to a “Breaking news” section, there is a section about the delegates and weather updates.
The app also provides information on parties and events around the DNC, though the “calendar” list doesn’t seem to be in any particular order.
The “Explore Charlotte” section offers information and articles about local restaurants, bars, entertainment and even Charlotte’s greenway system from Observer staffers. This section may be the app’s most valuable asset, giving information about local things to do from the local writers.
The Observer also mapped hundreds of restaurants, bars, farmers markets and even gas stations on a Google map, which is available through the app. Cost: Free, though at last check it was quite a large file on the Android phone.
Finally, Charlotte cartographer Jeff Simpson has a gorgeous uptown Charlotte map with details like public art, sky bridges between buildings and even those pesky restaurants hidden inside larger buildings. He marks parking too, for anyone who actually plans to try to drive within the uptown loop. His app costs $1.99 in the Apple store.
Know of any others?
(Andria Krewson is a former Observer journalist in Charlotte now writing for Columbia Journalism Review’s Swing States project. Corey Inscoe is an Observer journalist covering primarily prep sports and also helping with convention coverage.)