A startup has launched a free mobile wayfinding app to help shoppers find their way around Waterloo, Ont.’s downtown business area. And being Waterloo, yes, it’s available on BlackBerry.

MappedIn developed the free mobile wayfinding app for the UpTown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) as a navigation tool for residents and visitors alike. It’s available on Android and iPhone as well as BlackBerry 10, and contains information on the over 400 businesses in Waterloo, such as amenities, events and promotions.

A Waterloo-based startup with an office in Toronto, MappedIn offers interactive navigation systems such as mobile apps, directory kiosks, and venue management systems.

“Our work with the BIA seemed like a natural fit,” said Hongwei Liu, co-founder and CEO of MappedIn, in a statement. “It represents another step towards becoming a vital part of this growing city, as our wayfinding applications can already be found at the University of Waterloo and Conestoga mall. This mobile app offers a perfect way to further promote the thriving UpTown Waterloo core so that even visitors new to the area can experience the UpTown feel.”

The genesis for the app came from the City of Waterloo’s IT department, which approached the BIA with an idea for a mobile app that would help residents and visitors find and learn more about local businesses. The BIA ran with it from there.

“We’re always looking for new ways to promote UpTown Waterloo while offering value-added services to residents and visitors,” said Patti Brooks, executive director of the UpTown Waterloo BIA, in a statement. “We were very impressed with the delivery of the app and proud to be the first BIA in Ontario to offer such a service. With two universities located in Waterloo, the app is ideal for new students just getting to know the area. It’s also a helpful life-planning tool for residents looking to stay in the know about ongoing events and promotions.”

UpTown Waterloo BIA

MappedIn is a partner of geographic information systems (GSI) company ESRI Canada, and the app combines data maintained by the BIA with basemaps from Esri’s ArcGIS Online cloud platform. Users can browse businesses by category and pull up their profile, and view information such as store web sites, promotions and product offerings. Reservations and appointments can also be made directly from the app. And businesses can make edits to their profiles through a cloud-based system.

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