Regina? there’s an app for that!

BY EMMA GRANEY, LEADER-POSTNOVEMBER 18, 2011 4:07 PM

Photograph by: Troy Fleece, Regina Leader-Post

REGINA – Regina is hoping its new and improved free CityApp will be the most successful in the country.

It may seem a lofty goal, but with more than 3,000 apps already downloaded, perhaps it’s not too far-fetched.

“The goal is to have 10,0000 downloads by the first quarter of next year,” said the city’s interactive communications manager, Philippe Leclerc.

“We’re providing information in the format citizens want on the platform citizens wish to have.”

Friday’s snowy day was the perfect opportunity to launch the expanded CityApp at the Regina International Airport.

If you had the latest version of the app, for instance, you’d be able to see – right from your mobile device – that some flights were delayed because of the weather.

That’s because the flights section gets its info straight from the airport database, so you get a real-time rundown of what’s landed when – and what’s still on its way.

The extended information available comes as a result of collaboration between the city, airport and the Regina Regional Opportunities Commission (RROC).

“Collaboration like this is essential to provide a world-class experience for our residents and visitors to the city,” said Jim Hunter, president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority.

RROC president and CEO Larry Hiles said the app means the city can be in constant communication.

“When people are looking at Regina, whether for living, working or doing business, they are asking the same information. What kind of place is this? Is this an exciting place to be – What is there to do? How do I get around?” he said.

“These are the kinds of things that we’re able to start to provide in the once source … through this new app.”

The Regina CityApp cost the city around $30,000, which Leclerc says is in line with, or slightly cheaper than, similar applications developed by other cities.

“With all digital initiatives we have, we’re constantly looking for feedback in everything we do,” he said.

“We’ve already had feedback on the first version, and we’ve added bus stops and events to the app. We’ll use as many suggestions as we can.”

Leclerc encouraged everyone to download the app and see what’s available.

Then, if people have any ideas about ways to improve it, they can hit the feedback button and let him know.

“Our first target is residents, but having said that, with the events we have and for example the arrivals and departure information, there’s certainly the opportunity for visitors to use this,” he said.

Leclerc said the city is already working on more features for the app, including linking up to Regina’s recently released Cultural Map.

“We’re looking at enabling that because the cultural map enhances visitor experiences, because as they’re walking around they can get more information … and it really takes advantage of the mobile device in their hand,” he said.

“That’s the first one we’re looking at and I’m quite excited about that.”

There’s also a possibility of linking the Regina Transit app to CityApp, but Leclerc said that would depend on ironing out some technical issues.

egraney@leaderpost.com