All stations to CityCycle!
Bike Brisbane contains a database of all CityCycle stations, conveniently plotted on a map for ease of reference – we'll even give you walking directions!
Regular station updates
Ever arrived at a station and no bikes are available? Bike Brisbane provides regular updates on the number of available bikes and vacant racks at each station.
Where's the nearest...
...CityCycle station? Helmet retailer? Public toilet? Bike Brisbane has got you covered and can quickly find the nearest to your location with the tap of a button.
No more overdue returns!
The in-built 30 minute timer within Bike Brisbane will help make sure you never return your bike late. The timer will even stay running if the app is closed, so you can continue using your iPhone as per usual.
Favourite stations, at a glance
Create a custom listing of all your favourite stations, showing the number of bikes and vacant racks at each of those stations – no more having to browse through the map each time you wish to look-up these stations.
Your environmental impact
Whenever you clock time on CityCycle using Bike Brisbane it will update your environmental scorecard, showing you statistics of your positive environmental impact from using CityCycle. Good show, friend!
Thanks for your interest in Bike Brisbane!
We thrive on user feedback, as it's how we can make Bike Brisbane an even more awesome product.
In the (very unlikely) event that you are encountering any problems with Bike Brisbane then please make sure you have the latest version from the iTunes App Store. Currently, the most recent version of the app is v1.1 (released 25 May 2012).
If you would like to get in touch then please contact us through the form below or direct email at email@example.com. We'd also love to hear from you if you have any feature requests or suggestions for improvements.
Why Bike Brisbane?
Bike Brisbane was designed by Matthew Purcell. By day, Matt is a secondary school teacher specialising in IT subjects, particularly software design and iOS development. By night (also weekends and teaching breaks) Matt is an indie developer writing iOS software and web applications with his one-man company, Mind the App Pty Ltd.
Bike Brisbane was designed as part of the 2012 hack::Brisbane competition run by the Brisbane City Council. The Council provided 69 data sets to the community, challenging developers to write innovative applications which made use of these data sets. In response to this competition, Bike Brisbane was designed to provide users of the Brisbane CityCycle system with a convenient way to obtain up-to-date information.
As the CityCycle stations data set is only updated yearly it is missing newly constructed stations. It also does not include regularly updated information on the number of available bikes and vacant racks at each station. Bike Brisbane complements this data set through downloading regular station updates from the public CityBik.es API to ensure that all stations are included and also provide regular updates about the number of bikes and racks at each station.
Why an iOS app?
A common question is why design a native iOS app as opposed to a platform-agnostic web app. This was a decision made after quite a bit of informed consideration. We decided to make an iOS-based app for the following reasons:
- Ease of use: Web apps are generally more complicated and convoluted to use - the user needs to visit a website, perhaps even login if they want to access saved data or preferences. With a native app, like Bike Brisbane, users can simply download the app from the iTunes App Store and immediately start using it. No messing around - it just works. Perfect for users who are not tech-savvy.
- Access: In order to use web apps an active internet connection is required. While recent standards (such as HTML5 offline storage and applications) have assisted in reducing this requirement, generally if you don't have internet you cannot use the majority of the web app. In Bike Brisbane all data is cached on the user's phone within the in-app database, making the data accessible without internet. Want to find the closest station to your location, but don't have any 3G coverage? Bike Brisbane can still help you!
- Responsiveness: The web is commonly known as a click-and-wait medium. You click a link, and then wait for a response - unitasking at its best. As Bike Brisbane is a native app things happen instantly and concurrently. Tasks such as downloading station updates happen in the background, allowing you to continue doing other things while waiting. Furthermore, the station update downloads have been optimised for mobile bandwidth - to update all stations generally only takes a few seconds, even on a patchy 3G or Edge connection.
- Technologies: Through developing a native iOS application we can leverage the unique capabilities of iOS devices. These include both hardware features (such as GPS and a high-resolution display) together with cutting-edge software technology (such as animations and graphics acceleration) to create a highly usable, responsive, and gorgeous looking app that people want to use.
The technology behind the scenes...
Bike Brisbane capitalises on many of the cutting-edge technologies provided by the iOS platform:
- The app was written using Xcode 4.3 with the iOS SDK 5.1.
- All data is stored using high-performance Core Data backed with an SQLite database.
- Core Location is used to provide location data and also perform distance calculations.
- The MapKit framework provides map functionality together with annotation and route overlays.
- A combination of Core Graphics and Quartz Core are used for (some very cool looking) animations.
- The BlocksKit, MBProgressHUD, and Reachability libraries of code are used within the app.
- The app also makes use of the Google Street View, Google Directions, and Citybik.es APIs.
...and there are plenty more features and nifty technologies to follow in the future.
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy using Bike Brisbane as much as we enjoyed creating it. We always welcome feedback, so please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.