Locate WiFi hotspots, restrooms, and subway entrances on the go in NYC
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README.md

NYC Life List (working title)

Find essential life elements on the go in NYC: WiFi hotspots, subway entrances, and restrooms.

Abstract

New York City has an insane variety of things to offer; from food trucks to secret sanctuaries and anything in-between, a resourceful New Yorker will never run our of new adventures. Out of all those things, however, a few things can be surprisingly hard to find especially when desperately urgent: WiFi hotspots, public restrooms, and subway entrances. This proposed new web-app, NYC Life List (working title), will provide a single-source solution to easily find the three elements in New York City area, so that both residents and visitors can instantly determine their next step to get the problem solved--be it a quick email checking, a bad case of summer complaint, or find the entrance to the labyrinthian Times Square subway station.


Key features

  1. Via Google Maps API, display the places of interest in a given area.
  • Main navigation (category) includes: WiFi hotspots, subway entrances, and restrooms with public access
  • Clicking a category item will update the place markers on the map accordingly
  1. Detecting the current location, indicate the accesses nearest to the user.
  2. Clicking a place marker on a map will reveal the details about the venue. (E.g. SSID for WiFi access, running trains for subway entrance, etc.)
  3. User can search by address or/and zip code for planning trips in advance.
  4. ajax call results are stored locally if user's browser supports localStorage, so that API calls don't have to be made every time user switches navigation.

APIs Used

  1. Google Maps API: display geolocation data on maps
  2. NYC Open Data API: pull geolocation data source, from the end points below

Custom Data Set

Public Restrooms data from NYC Open Data API only contains locations managed by city authorities (e.g. parks, playgrounds) and not commercial entities (e.g. Starbucks, McDonalds). More importantly, its geocode information isn't really usable as-is. For more useful interface, I collected NYC restroom data from a few online sources, geocoded each location, and created a JSON file. The resources used in the process include:


Limitations

  • Data sets used, whether provided by NYC Open Data or custom-created, are not guaranteed to be up to date--especially with WiFi hotspots and restrooms. Storefronts change rapidly in New York City; entities listed here might not be there today, and/or new places will keep popping up constantly.
  • Subway entrance info can come in handy when a given station has separate accesses to uptown/downtown trains, or/and multiple entry points. This feature can be more useful if it could actually visualize up-/downtown directions and running lines per entrance, but NYC Open Data API is not sophisticated enough to provide such details yet.