Tunnel Vision, a new app created by NYU student Bill Lindmeier, gives users the opportunity to access real-time visual statistics by simply capturing the image of a New York City subway map on an iPhone. The stunning animations that bring these statistics to life though are worth checking out on their own.
According to Lindmeier’s website, the Tunnel Vision app began as a thesis project at the Interactive Technology Program at NYU, also responsible for these pedestrian street sign with human emotions. With a focus in mobile applications, creative coding, application prototyping and data visualization, he successfully combined these disciplines to create an app that seamlessly integrates information from a variety of sources in order to give subway riders a chance to “explore the city through data-visualization.” All this can be done by simply pointing your iPhone at any old subway map in the New York transit system.
As soon as your phone recognizes the map, icons will appear on the screen and begin to move. Some of the cool visual data that can be accessed through this awesome app includes the real-time motion of trains, the number of people leaving and entering any given subway station, as well as information provided by the US Census representing the median income of different New York City neighborhoods. The actual inner workings of this app are amazing too. Using something called an augmented reality library, information is assigned to different areas of the map based on an advanced process of image detection.
The only catch is that this app requires access to WiFi, and of course, not every station in the New York transit system has WiFi, as seen in this previous Fun Map on Untapped. Currently, there are only 47 stations with WiFi, all of which are either in the Upper West Side or Midtown Manhattan. But according to the MTA, all 278 subway stations are expected to be hooked up with WiFi access by 2017. So not only will this make New Yorkers much safer in the city’s underground environment, but riders will also be able to use this app to beat the rush hour foot traffic one iPhone image capture at a time.
Tunnel Vision can be purchased here through the iTunes app store. Also, be sure to check out more interesting map-related news in our Fun Maps column, which includes this cool map of free libraries around the city.
To talk more about the woes of subway commuting, contact the author @DouglasCapraro