City of Columbus app coming to your phone

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 03:07 AM


Looking for a local bike path? Want someone to fix that pothole on your route to work?

Starting Monday, Columbus residents can simply whip out the nearest mobile device for help.

Mayor Michael B. Coleman will launch the city's first mobile application, called My Columbus, at a City Council meeting Monday.

"Constituents may not be well-versed in city services," said Stefphanie Harper, spokeswoman for Coleman. "This is a way to show them what's available."

The free application will be available on iPhones, web-enabled iPods and iPads. An Android version is expected by the end of the year.

The city invested an initial $19,900 from the capital improvements budget to develop the application. The City Council last week allotted $146,000 more from the same fund to add other features in coming months.

"We wanted to be ahead of this curve," said Gary Cavin, the city's technology director.

Americans now spend more time - about 80 minutes per day - using mobile applications than browsing the Web, according to a study this year by the California-based mobile technology company Flurry.

The My Columbus app is organized into four sections:

• My Neighborhood provides information about local government services, as well as maps showing nearby entertainment and stores.

• Get Active points out local parks and recreation areas, in addition to healthful recipes and exercise advice from local "celebrities," such as Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee.

• GreenSpot offers tips for households and businesses looking to be more environmentally friendly.

• The 311 section allows users to submit service requests for issues such as graffiti and potholes, with an option to upload a photo.

Similar online tools are currently available on various city websites.

"It's just a more comprehensive tool," said Jeff Harper, president of eProximiti LLC, the local company that designed the app.

The app uses GPS data for mapping and displays listings of local businesses based on Google and information. It also links users to social-media sites for city agencies on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Harper said his company will continue adding features over the next several months, such as personalized profiles for app users, updates on city construction projects and access to city health inspections of restaurants.

My Columbus will be available in the Apple app store beginning Monday. Additional information about the app will be available at

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