CityMaps, the social mapping company fresh off its $2.5 million Series A, is rolling out a big update today which not only brings the service to a fourth city (Boston), but also introduces a recommendations feature it calls “Featured Maps.” This option allows users to quickly see recommended places to eat, drink, shop and play as a new layer on the map.
The update is live now in the iTunes App Store, and while I don’t have CityMaps available in my hometown just yet (it’s currently in New York, San Francisco and Austin, in addition to Boston), it’s easy enough to switch to another city to see the map for that area.
For a little background, CityMaps aggregates local business information it collects from third-party sources like Twitter, Foursquare and Groupon, which it then uses to create detailed maps of area businesses. Block-by-block, it shows all the restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, hotels, and even the parking lots and garages in between. It also smartly integrates features like real-time train updates, movie showtimes, OpenTable, parking rates, local deals and Twitter updates right into the maps themselves.
In a previous version of the iOS app, you could tap on buttons to see either “tweets” or “deals,” but these features have now been combined into one section called “Discover.” The Discover bar pops up a window from the bottom of the screen, showing you the geo-targeted updates and offers.
Also new in the update is directional navigation, which now provides users with step-by-step directions to any destination within CityMaps. This feature is still in beta, but it’s nice that you now don’t have to swap between your preferred default map app and this one after you figure out where it is you want to go.
However, the bigger piece to today’s update, is the above-mentioned “Featured Maps” section. Here, you’ll find local guides from that city’s trusted brands, for example, Time Out’s Best Brunch Spots, NYC & Co.’s Guide to Off Broadway, Boston Magazine’s Best Bars, etc. These are organized into the appropriate category within the Featured section (Eat, Drink, Shop, Play, etc.) and you can scroll through the guides with a flip. Tap on any specific guide you like and the details display on the map. (See photo on right).
CityMaps says this Featured Maps section is the first step towards letting users create their own custom maps of their cities.
You can grab the latest version of CityMaps here in iTunes.