Citymaps, a free app for Android and iOS, is a useful tool for business travelers, real estate agents and other professionals. It's a cool social, collaborative app that makes it easy to share "collections" of places with others — kind of like Spotify playlists — and explore neighborhoods, whether it's your own or in a city across the ocean.
This week, New York City-based Citymaps released a significant app update, which it calls version 2.0, and announced an impressive global expansion. The company also announced $6 million in new funding.
Here are three reasons why business users might want to download Citymaps.
1. Business Travel. Let's say you're traveling to London on business. Using Citymaps, you could search for places to meet colleagues before you arrive. When you find restaurants, coffee shops, tearooms or other places that catch your eye, you can add them to a list and give it a name. London colleagues who use the app could also add places to your list.
Citymaps pulls in point of interest (POI) data from sources including Yelp and Foursquare, and it shows tips and collections (those playlists I mentioned) from other users. The app includes more than 80 million global POIs, which the company says is "the largest of all apps."
2. Real Estate. Realtors could use Citymaps to highlight the best places to go in neighborhoods where they're showing homes to clients.
3. Branding. Other businesses, including publishers, retailers, restaurants and tourism-related companies, could create collections of places for branding purposes. In San Francisco, for instance, the magazine 7x7 posted 82 tips and has 221 followers.
Citymaps is valuable, but it's not unique. Vurb, a free app that debuted this week for iOS (coming soon for Android), overlaps Citymaps to some degree. Vurb is designed to be a one-stop shop for browsing places (including restaurants, nightlife and sights), viewing cards about those POIs, and then taking action. For example, when you click to "Find a Table" at a restaurant, the app bumps you into Open Table (assuming you use the app and have it installed), where you can book a reservation. Vurb is also social, and it lets you sort cards you like into "decks" and share them.
Findery, a free app for iOS and Android that I reviewed last March, is another similar option. Findery users share articles, photos, video clips, POI reviews and other information, and it's all geotagged and displayed on a map. Like Citymaps, Findery's goal is to help you explore new places and share favorites with other users.
I like all three of these apps. And since they're free, you can download them all at no cost and experiment to find out which one you prefer. While you're at it, go grab the free Yelp app, too.