Thursday, September 20, 2012

Example: PadMapper

                I chose for my web application PadMapper ( Finding new apartments is a tedious endeavor. Do you want an apartment building, townhouse, rental home, etc? What are the price differences? Where should you start looking? PadMapper takes these questions and more and condenses your hunt for a new place into a well organized map with lots of options for filtering through your results.
                PadMapper uses multiple sources for the listings it displays. It crawls the web for apartment listings and takes the relevant information, organizing into points on the map it displays. Such sites as, Craigslist, and are used. Some of these sites, such as Craigslist, can be extremely user unfriendly. Taking that information and conveying it in a more modern and useful way is extremely helpful. Going through Craigslist apartment adds and plugging in apartment addresses one by one to see if they’re close to what you want is extremely tedious.
 For the map, PadMapper uses the familiar Google maps to convey their information. This is beneficial, as Google Maps is a well known app, which can be navigated easily by most that use the web on a regular basis.
                PadMapper also has a ton of additional options, with such things as filtering for dog and cat friendly places, filtering by walking or driving distance to your work address, and showing an overlay of crime statistics (via SpotCrime). For some cities, it also has a walk score and shows mass transit, unfortunately Raleigh has not seen these features yet, which is one of the few drawbacks of PadMapper.
                Another nice point about PadMapper is the lack of an introduction or cover screen. You are brought immediately to a functional map. There are few things as annoying as being constantly shown an introduction screen. In addition, PadMapper takes a laid back approach to some of its text, which is something else I appreciate. There are filters, and then there are ‘Super-Secret Advanced Features.’ Along the same line, the motto for PadMapper is ‘Making Apartment Hunting Suck Less.’ This casual demeanor is always something nice to see, in a world where every word on most products is as mundane and inoffensive as possible.
                Overall I think PadMapper is a great web app, particularly for college students, who tend to move to new apartments on a yearly basis. I don’t hear people mention as often as places like Craigslist, making me think it’s more obscure than it should be.

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