Municipal Network Applications

Many municipalities are pursuing Municipal Wireless networks. Having a city- or town-wide network presents a great opportunity to rethink how business, entertainment, and public services can be enhanced. Sure, we can get email and web pages anywhere, but what about more novel uses of the network? Spectropolis is one good example of how a public wireless network can redefine public art. We’re sure there are lots of other great ideas out there. This page is the beginning of that brainstorm. We are using it to capture both ideas for new or updated services that can be provided on top of a ubiquitous wireless network, as well as highlight community needs that could be solved using that network. This is a wiki page, which means that anyone can add or edit anything on the page. We encourage you to put in your 2 cents. We want everyone to be part of the discussion!

Location-Based Content

BUS KIOSK Content Management System

A bus kiosk or neighborhood bulletin board could serve as an information point to the community.

“When’s the Next Bus?”

Push bus info to a bus shelter screen. (see lotto ads and lcd ads). Include newsfeeds and advertising (like in office elevators) Where am I? Easy map of neighborhood, based on AP location.

“Street-Level 311”

Make 311 info available to the kiosk. Make simple 311 forms (comments, questions complaints). Record location of entry.

“What’s open now?”

Show area businesses by hour. What city agencies are in the area? Include police stations and hours

“Get building history”

Landmarks preservation commission provides content about area landmarks.

“What’s going on?”

Street-fairs, festivals, etc.

Directions from here to there

sites like HopStop can provide directions to and from your current location, including what public transit lines will get you there.

Navigation Systems for Cars

Volkswagen and Google develop revolutionary navigation system


MNN, PBS broadcasts(?)

Public webcam(?)

For PDAs, Laptops

“Where’s Street Parking”

People are constantly trying to find a parking space. This app would show a map of a neighborhood, highlighting the blocks with red, yellow, and green indicators showing whether it’s ok to park there.

“Street Cleaning Neighborhood Network”

On Street Cleaning day, people tend to sit in their cars waiting for the street-cleaner to come. Some work (phone calls, working on their laptops, etc). Just having a municipal network would give these people Internet access in their cars while they’re waiting.

“Mark my location”

A simple app that notes your location by where you’re sending from (access point). Can be used as a time clock for field personnel (log into the access pt). Especially useful for police deployments? Also useful as an organizing tool (I was here.) and for petitions. Maybe make it hardware independent. (Log in, validate login from email, and you’re verified.) Easy map of area, formatted for smart-phone, pda, etc.

Street Level 311

Format 311 info for laptop, pda, and cellphone. Make simple 311 forms (comments, questions complaints).

“Show crimes by location”

Chicago Crime Database

“Check neighborhood phonebook”

There are a million John Smiths in the naked city. Show me the one within three blocks of here.

“Fix it!”

Here’s a comprehensive physical breakdown of a public city location with the ability to quickly navigate and report on the problem area. Report broken fixtures at parks, safety issues, etc. (social problems: vagrants, drug use, etc.?) Photo upload and moblog capability.

“Report that cab!”

A simple, discreet way to send a complaint about a taxi. (SMS the cabbie id or the cab id to a predefined SMS number. You’ll get an email back directing you to a form to enter more info.)


Report an unsafe scaffold or an expired scaffold.

“What’s that?” (Parks)

Identify plants and park fixtures. Content provided by park association.

“What’d you like to see?” (Parks)

Options for the next season’s plantings.

Using Wi-Fi for automated meter reading (AMR)

Bringing Wi-Fi to Public Spaces in NYC

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