March 2nd, 2011
I feel like starting off this article with, “When I was young, we didn’t have….”. Instead, I’ll say when I was younger, we didn’t have mobile apps to help us during Mardi Gras season. We did it the old fashion way. We looked in the newspaper and checked what time the parade was for. Given the time, we calculated how long it would take to reach us on the parade route and we waited. But with these handheld computers we have in our pockets, mobile apps can make life during Mardi Gras a lot easier. We’ll look at three free apps for the iPhone that you can use during Mardi Gras.
WDSU’s Parade Tracker
Developed by Calliope Digital, WDSU has an app that will “track” the parade while it’s moving. As a person that has been to many parades, I can’t tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS! Parades can be late, break down, or just get stuck when you’re sitting on the parade route. The app utilizes Google maps with Mardi Gras masks indicting a starting and stopping point. It also has the blue dot that iPhone users have come accustomed too, telling you where you are on the map. While the tracker is a great idea, I was looking for more. I’d like to have all the parade information with the tracker built in. Calliope Digital also has a Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide app (cost: $4.99) and it would have been great to see these two things put together.
Screenshot of the WDSU Parade Tracker
Experience Mardi Gras App
The Experience Mardi Gras app has a little more to offer with a list of all the parades (times & location), a parade tracker, an event info area, and videos. Another local company, Zender Communications, developed the app with local sponsors jumping on board as well. While I was impressed with having more information, I wasn’t to fond of the design and the built-in tracker. When I first brought up the app, the “look and feel” was very elementary. It could have been a lot more polished for an iPhone app. Also the parade tracker only tracked a limited number of parades, namely the bigger ones like Muses, Endymion, and Zulu. The parades that aren’t trackable still show you a Google map, telling you the location of the parade route.
Mardi Gras App
A Mardi Gras app, developed by WebbMasterInc in conjunction with PJ Coffee may be the underdog but it proved to have a leg up on the competition. I was thoroughly impressed by this app because I can get the information I wanted and more, all in one place. I could see where my friends checked in under the Recent Activity section, parades were broken up into different areas around town (if your a local, this is very helpful), and information such as bars, entertainment, and restaurants were only a touch away (in you’re a tourist, this is helpful). The best feature of was the social aspect. Clicking a parade showed me information about it, comments from other users, photos people had shared, and I could even see which one of my Twitter friends went to the parade. Though it wasn’t as polished as the WDSU parade tracker or had the ease of use of the Experience Mardi Gras app, it still come out great.
Three different iPhone apps to help you out this Mardi Gras season that are all free. Use these apps to plan for a parade before leaving the house and most importantly, don’t forget to charge your battery!
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