August 26, 2009

Free NYC Subway Map iPhone / iPod Touch Apps

When the iPhone app store first arrived on the scene, I remember spending $2.99 for an Official NYC Subway Transit map application on my wife's iPhone. This is a necessity because as soon as you go below ground level, you'd lose all cell phone signal so you need a map that is already loaded on your handset. I was too stingy to pay it twice for my iPhone so I had been searching for some work around solution. For smartphones that support saving PDF files or image files w/o supressing its quality this is a no brainer. To make a long story short, I failed to find an iPhone work around w/o exhaustive effort; for the most part, iPhone's default ability to supress image quality pretty much ruins every detailed map I created. The only work around requires this clever "album" where each image becomes tiles of the five borough.

Recently, my buddy Dan introduced two applications which worked great, and both are FREE of charge!

The applications are: NYC Subway Map (by Gotham Wave Games) and NYC Subway Map KICKMAP (by KICK Design). In my opinion, both applications features a more intuitive map than the NY Transit maps which can help tourists understand the difference between local and express stops better. While other paid maps may offer fancy things such as service advisory or a time table, these two maps serves the basic purpose of showing you the stops. I am quite pleased with these two applications. While I find the map load time during scrolling (going from blurry state to clear) a bit slow, it sure beats not having a map on my iPhone. I wish they would draw up a NYC bus map that overlays the subway map so I have the option to review the closest bus stop for connecting a commute.

Overall, these apps are fabulous and they simply worked as well as provided a solution of not having access to data network underground. It sure beats having to make my way over inside a subway cart and ask people to move out of the way to read the small map hanging on the wall.

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