App is used generically to refer to lightweight, web-based applications tailored to a device’s such as a mobile phone or tablet and input-output interfaces (keypad, touch pad, remote control, etc). The term “app” is a shortening of the term “application software”. It has become very popular and in 2010 was listed as “Word of the Year” by the American Dialect Society.
The CivicApps For Greater Portland website aims to encourage every citizen to be an active participant by putting the data in their hands. The CivicApps site was developed to source, profile, and accelerate innovative ideas using Web and mobile technologies. The aim is social change. The path is regional collaboration. The focus is local.
Transit Apps: Getting Around the Metro Area
There is a list of transit apps at the TriMet website and below are the best of the bunch.
- Arrival Tracker Shows TriMet bus and train arrival predictions. Cost: Free for the iPhone.
- Dadnab Dadnab uses as old-fashioned text message − just text your location and destination to 503-406-8622 (this is for Portland and other cities have different telephone numbers) to give it a try. Cost: The cost of a telephone call and text message from your carrier.
- Trimet Mobile Ticket TriMet Ticket app lets you purchase and use tickets and passes instantly on your phone—anywhere, anytime. Just download the free app, register your debit/credit card in our secure system, and you’re ready to go. Cost: Free for iPhone and Android.
- Portland Transit Trip planner for Android. It allows you to look up arrival times for any stop that TriMet reports. This includes all MAX stops, bus stops, and WES stops (unfortunately Streetcar times are not currently available). Cost: $2.29 for Android.
- PDX Trian Location and arrival app and it’s a free Android app.
- PDX Bus PDX Bus is brilliant and the only transit app you’ll need to get around on public transportation in Portland. It displays MAX stops, bus stops, WES stops, and streetcars. Every TriMet bus stop and rail station as its own unique Stop ID number. Enter the Stop ID number and get the arrivals for that stop. Cost: It’s free for the iPhone..
- Transitly Unlike mapping and trip planning applications, Transitly for the iPhone does not offer maps, step by step instructions, or routing information. The logic is that most ride the same one or two buses or trains everyday and don’t need all these features. All they need to know is: “When is my next bus?” Transitly for the Android provides you with personal mass transit timetables on your Android device. No cost as web base app − just insert transitly.com into your browser and select your city.
- Transit Surfer Cell phone web browser interface for accessing real time arrival information for TriMet and Streetcar routes. It’s named ‘Surfer’ for those of us who ‘surf’ the transit system, making real time judgments about what route or vehicle will get us to our destination most quickly. As such it’s designed to put comparative information on the screen and let you quickly access related information. You can find Transit Surfer at http://tsrf.us.
Portland Tours Apps
GPSmyCity.com offers some of the most interesting self-guided city walks and walking tours in Portland. The Portland city walk apps on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad turns a traveler into his own tour guide. Each walking tour offers accurate turn-by-turn directions to famous attractions, monuments and interesting sights as well as hidden gems; as if you had brought along a local guide.
- Portland City Walks and Walking Tours Self-guided walking with no audio narration. Tour includes following: Religious buildings (9 sights), museums tour (9 sights), family entertainment (6 sights), famous breweries (7 sights). galleries walk, nightlife entertainment (6 sights). Cost: $4.99 for Apple devices.
- Alberta Neighborhood Tour Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- East Bank Tour Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Sights include the Museum of Science and Industry. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- Hawthorne and Belmont Tour Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- Landmarks of Portland Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Sights include Lan Su Classical Chinese Garden, Benson Hotel, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Arlene Schitzer Concert Hall, Portlandia sculpture, Waterfront Park, and Portland Spirit. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- Mississippi Neighborhood Tour Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- Pearl District Walking Guide Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- PDX Trees Search for nearby Heritage Trees and see them on a map. There are more than 280 trees all over the city deemed worthy enough by dint of their size, age, horticultural value or historical significance to be designated Heritage Trees by the City Council. The app has details and directions to all of them.
- Quirky Portland Walking Guide Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- The West Hills of Portland Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Sight s included: Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Rose Gardens, and Pittock Mansion. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
Museums and Galleries
- Galleries and Museums Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Sights included: 3D Center of Art & Photography, Oregon Jewish Museum, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, Oregon Historical Society, and Portland Art Museum. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- Portland Art Museum The application includes 12 short videos featuring curators, educators, and others discussing works of art on view in the Museum’s permanent collection. The app also includes a map so visitors can easily locate the featured works of art and general Museum information. Free app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- Public Art PDX Showcases the rich and diverse collection of Public Art on display in and around Portland, Oregon, USA. The map view shows the location of more than 400 works of art in the metro area, from historic statues and fountains to photography, architectural integrations and murals created this year. High-quality images, details about the work, descriptions and artists’ statements are all just a tap away. Free app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Entertainment, Eating and Drinking Apps
- Food Cart Compass PDX Cart Compass PDX is for finding Portland Oregon food carts, trucks and food pods. You can search for and view all the carts location on a map. The carts are constantly being updated by all the users. The list is growing and updated daily. Over 300 carts in the database. Free for Apple devices;
- Microbrewery Tour Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- Nightlife in Portland Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- Portland Cocktail Compass You need a drink in Portland… STAT! So let the Portland Mercury’s Cocktail Compass find the happiest happy hours near you. Tap the app and in mere moments you’ll have the nearest happy hour at your fingertips, along with its location, distance, and how long you’ll have before happy hour is over. Free app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- Shopping in Portland Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.
- TablesUp With TablesUp, you always know which restaurants have tables available when you want one. Covers approximately 250 restaurants in the Portland metro area. Free for iPhone and Droid.
Traffic & Parking
- Best Parking Find the cheapest and most convenient parking facilities in 105 cities & 115 airports throughout North America. Save hundreds of dollars! Free for iPhones.
- Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Traffic Oregon traffic information including: live images from ODOT traffic cams, Portland area traffic (how fast roads are moving, road density, road occupancy, and estimated delay times), road weather details (temperature, wind speeds, wind direction), traffic alerts (road closures and road delays of greater than 20 minutes). TripCheck has a website formatted specifically for mobile devices such as cell phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). A user may access this website by using the http://m.tripcheck.com URL or by using http://www.tripcheck.com/mobile. Either address will identify the user as being a mobile customer and automatically bring up the TripCheck Mobile website formatted for these devices.
- Portland Traffic Get the latest traffic for the Metro Portland/Vancouver area on the Portland Traffic mobile app from KGW-TV. The Portland Traffic app includes: Traffic speed maps, real-time crash reports, 61 ODOT traffic cameras covering all six major metro highways, where to find the cheapest gas. Free for iPhone, Droid and Blackberry.
- Parkmobile Starting in August 2011, Pearl District drivers will test technology that allows people to pay for street parking with a cell phone. No more walking to the meter in the middle of the block. No more fishing out coins or a credit card while juggling a toddler and an umbrella. And no more messy window stickers. Instead, a few taps on a cell phone will authorize a credit card payment of the meter rate − plus a 35-cent fee. Free for iPhone, Droid and Blackberry.
- RoadCam Oregon It is a traffic camera viewer and includes real time traffic data from over 300 cameras. It shows accidents, incidents, construction, Portland speed map and restrictions. $1.99 for IOS.
- QuickPay for Parking Garages City Center Parking, the longtime Portland company that manages nearly 200 metro-area lots has a mobile smartphone payments app. In order to use the app, every QuickPay user must create an account with payment and vehicle information. Attendants need only enter your plate number to find out if you’re paid up. Free for iphone and Droid.
- Washington Park and Oregon Zoo Parking Visitors to Portland’s Washington Park and the Oregon Zoo can pay for parking on their smartphones. The app, available for iPhone and Android products, allows visitors to pay for their parking without standing in line at a pay station. Users can add more time for their visit remotely, and receive texts or alerts to remind them when their paid parking expires.
Hiking, Biking, Running
- Forest Park Lincoln High School senior Dylan Gattey worked with The Forest Park Conservancy and Portland Parks and Recreation to develop the iPhone application that provides maps of the park and its more than 80 miles of trails for hiking, biking, walking and running. $3.99 for the iPhone.
- Walk There Ten treks from the popular Walk There! guidebook jump from their pages and onto your iPhone screen. Metro and Kaiser Permanente teamed up to bring you the Walk There! app. Free for iPhone.
Real Estate & House Hunting
- Crime Stats lets you see statistics on several violent crimes and property crimes for cities nationwide, using FBI data. The app also lets you compare those stats to the national average and to other cities. 99 cents for iPhone and iPad.
- Walk Score app It gives a home a score of up to 100, based on residents’ ability to walk to things such as a grocery, a pub, etc. The better the score, the more walkable the neighborhood. Somewhat related, Around Me tells you the distances to key spots such as banks, coffee shops and post offices. Both are free for iPhone and iPad.
- SiteWise gives the demographics of your prospective home’s immediate area, using info up to and including the 2010 Census. The app creates a demographic report that includes population by age, education level, number of children, household income, number of renters versus owners and more. $9.99 for Blackberry and iPhone users.
- Photo Measures is an app that lets you take pictures of, say, a room and then allows you to save your measurements of the room’s dimensions on the photos. You can take photos during your walk-throughs of an appealing house, note the dimensions of walls and doors and cabinets, then plan your space and refer to the measurements later. $4.99 for iPhone.
- ColorSmart With paintmaker Behr’s ColorSmart app, you can visualize colors in your prospective home. Just take a photo, then fill in the walls with a Behr paint color to check out the new look. Free for iPhone and iPad.
- House Hunter It’s a good choice for anyone serious about buying a home because it can help users evaluate multiple houses more easily. House Hunter offers a detailed list of roughly 80 house features, along with an easy method for scoring each. It also lets homeowners add their own features to that list, in case an indoor pool or a backyard Jacuzzi is a priority. You then rank each feature’s importance, on a scale from 1 to 10. After a house visit, you evaluate those features individually and the app assigns an overall score to the home. A more limited Lite version is also worth considering. $3.99 for iPhone.
- Zillow and Trulia House Hunter comes into play only after you have a set of homes to consider. But because no centralized service has perfect visibility into local real estate markets, it makes sense to download both. Zillow, more fully featured than Trulia, is the best place to start. Neither Trulia or Zillow has foolproof listings. In recent tests, both services occasionally turned up listings that were stale, and failed to find others that had recently appeared on the market. Both are free for the iPhone and Droid.
The Oregonian‘s resident weatherhead, Stuart Tomlinson, covers weather issues from the Oregon coast to eastern Oregon and the Cascades. Below are some of his favorite weather apps, all free for iPhone and Android.
- WeatherTAP Zoom This free app has up-to-the-minute radar at your fingertip. A nice press-and-hold feature — press the map, get the forecast, current conditions and more for that spot. In another mode, your location shows as a blue dot so you can see approaching rain showers, thunderstorms and weather alerts.
- Radio NOAA The voice is synthesized, but the forecasts are precise, deep and prepared by the National Weather Service. Search feature allows you to check your weather wherever you are, and check the weather back home when you’re away.
- The Weather Channel Quick on the draw for weather alerts, heat, ice, snow, wind or heavy rain. A social media button gives a rundown of what’s trending weatherwise in your location. Video forecasts, pollen reports, with up to 10-day forecasts.
- Unisys Weather Enthusiast Take a step up from the basics and see the forecast models used by meteorologists, from NAM ( North American Mesoscale Model) to GFS (Global Forecast System) and ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). Also includes basic satellite images.
- KGW-TV Portland Weather Get the latest weather forecast, live radars and weather alerts on the go with the new Portland Weather mobile app from KGW. The Portland Weather app includes: Forecast personalized to your location anywhere in Oregon, live Doppler radars, a dozen live weather cams from across Oregon, weather alerts from the National Weather Service, weather closures for schools and businesses, ski report, pass conditions and mountain cameras. Forecasts: 7-day forecasts, regional forecasts for the metro, Willamette Valley, Oregon Coast, the Gorge and Cascades, Free for iPhone, Droid and Blackberry.
- Architectural The Architectural Heritage Center has partnered with app developer Tagwhat on an app that is available for both Android and iPhone. You’ll need to download the Tagwhat app and then look for the AHC channel on that app. The app has descriptions and history for more than 150 Portland buildings.
- Citizen Reports Citizen Reports will let any iPhone user file reports to the City of Portland. Using their iPhone, citizens can select the type of issue to report, take a photo, geo-locate the issue via GPS or map, add comments, and send their report directly to the appropriate bureau for resolution. Once submitted, citizens will receive updates directly to their iPhone regarding the status of their issue(s). Also available is PDX Reporter for Android. Free for the iPhone and Android.
- DMV Test Prep for Oregon Prepare for the Oregon DMV driver test using our acclaimed Test Prep series of driver’s license practice tests. DMV Test Prep has over 150 essential Road Rule questions and over 120 Road Sign questions to help you get ready for the live exam. $2.99 for the iPhone and other Apple devices.
- Greater PDX Greater PDX app for iPad provides access to data and information about the Portland-Vancouver area. Designed for site selectors and businesses considering locating or expanding in the region, the free app includes interactive data education, costs, innovation, community, exports and manufacturing. Free for the iPad and you can download the app from the App Store.
- Multnomah County Library The free app allows library users to search the catalog, place and cancel holds, renew items and check accounts. Chat with or text librarians, download audio books and music, and locate the nearest library. The app can be found on the library website, or by searching for “multcolib” or “multnomah” in the iPhone App Store and Android Market.
- Oregon Exposure “The torch is passing. The path blazed by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, Galen Rowell and others is being followed by an ever-growing number of new-breed photographers” –Outdoor Photographer Magazine, referring to Sean Bagshaw and others featured in its 2008 Landscape Annual. $.99 for the iPhone and other Apple devices.
- Oregon Public Broadcasting Listen to a live stream from OPB Radio, replay the latest local news from OPB Morning Edition, and subscribe to OPB’s podcasts. Plus, read the latest local headlines from OPB News, learn what’s coming up on OPB Radio, and set your alarm to wake you with OPB Radio. Free for the iPhone and other Apple devices.
- The Oregon Trail (audio book) As a young college student, Francis Parkman, lived the Oregon Trail, slept it, ate it, marveled at it, and wrote an excellent memoir that leaves one with the feel of sand in the boots and the smell of buffalo roasting on the fire. $.99 for the iPhone and other Apple devices.
- PDX Alerts It has its fingers on the pulse on all the chaos, and knows how to type. Managed by a group of public safety professionals who say they prefer to remain anonymous, the Twitter account began as an outlet for self-described “scanner nerds” to relay information coming over various emergency dispatches. It’s become a local favorite—with more than 35,000 followers.
- PDX Social History Know Your City’s PDX Social History Guide is a free iPhone app and corresponding website featuring 15 leading historians telling stories about people and places vital to the Portland’s cultural heritage.
- Oregon Coast Today Your Oregon Coast vacation application: event calendars, live music listing, tide tables and traffic updates, plus deals on hotels and restaurants, from Yachats north to Manzanita. Get all the utility and attitude of the coast’s favorite entertainment weekly, the Oregon Coast Today, without all that pesky paper. Free app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- Quirky Portland Walking Guide Self-guided walking tour with audio narration. Cost: $2.99 for Apple devices.