trimet app contest entry: seatMate

2012 TriMet App Contest

I've decided to compete in the TriMet App Contest.  The deadline is February 1st, 2012, and I am starting this weekend.  The app must use TriMet and CivicApps open datasets and be released as an open source project. Rather than keeping my app under wraps until the end date, I've decided to do all the design and development in public.  I hope the other entrants will use my code and methods to develop their own cool apps.

My App: seatMate

For this contest I will build a chat and messaging app for TriMet passengers who are riding the same bus or route.  It will be targeted at riders with tablets and smartphones and use the TriMet route and arrival data to enable social interactions between passengers.

Leave a message/comments

Passengers will be able to leave message or comments that will be visible to other people riding the same bus or route.  They could be used for lost and found or "missed connection" type communication.  They will be public, archived and searchable.


There will also be the option of partaking in a chatroom or private instant messaging with other people riding the same bus or route.  There should be some expectation of privacy/anonymity for users.


The third element of the app will be to facilitate romantic interaction between riders that opt in.  People that are interested in meeting other passengers can activate a "flirt" mode, that will enable private messaging between interested parties.  Users will only be identified by age/gender/sexual preference.


seatMate will  be a mobile html5/javascript web application and also available as a native Android/iOS app from the app stores.  It should:
  • be fast and interactive
  • use geolocation to determine route information
  • have push notifications or sms
  • allow image uploading/sharing
  • deployable to cloud hosting (ideally at the freemium level)



The contest specifies that the app must be available as a public repository.  I'll be using git and host the code on github.  This will allow for public issue tracking and enable anyone to fork the repo and submit code through github pull requests. https://github.com/eknuth/seatMate


For project management, I'll be keeping big picture task information in Fog Creek's trello app.  It'll be public and allow voting and comments. https://trello.com/board/seatmate/4f081075ffd434f16d04b1bc


I will be blogging about the process on this site using the seatMate tag. http://iknuth.com/tag/seatMate/ Feel free to follow along and participate as much as you like.  I'm hoping that this will be a fun month!