Mobile mapping provider CityMaps recently redesigned its iOS app. It impressively includes home-grown vector maps, built from the ground up. Beyond this CityMaps is trying to offer deeper editorial and social content to differentiate from other mapping and local-search apps.
CityMaps also invokes the language of “personal assistant” in its promotional video (below). These concepts are worthy but the execution to support them is, so far, lacking.
The original CityMaps app was a kind of crazy quilt of colorful corporate logos that signified business locations. Below are screenshots of the earlier CityMaps iOS app:
The new CityMaps has roundups and lists from users and sources like TimeOut. The app still shows company logos, but the overall UI is more “restrained.” However there’s not enough social (and editorial) content at this point to make it truly interesting or worth using instead of Google or Yelp.
Perhaps the social content will grow over time. But CityMaps faces the familiar “chicken and egg” problem in developing user-generated content: nobody wants to be the first one at a party.
The company’s mapping data come from OpenStreetMap.
Waze was able to add a social layer to traffic and build a highly engaged community that Google valued at $1+ billion. There was really no social traffic app in the market and Waze developed something unique.
By comparison, social content in local search and mapping apps is much more common (e.g., Yelp, Foursquare, Urbanspoon, now Google Maps) and it will be much tougher to build momentum and create a following (so to speak) in this segment.
CityMaps released the following video when the iOS app was published last week.