Today, Code for America is proud to release MuralApp, a mobile website that connects people in Philadelphia to murals and public art around the city. Using the app, anyone with a smartphone can see where murals are across the city, select individual pieces, and learn about their history and artists. It makes it really easy to identify the public art you see while walking around and find new pieces to check out around town. Test it out yourself: muralapp.mobi.

Murals + Map = MuralApp

MuralApp screenshot

Screenshots of MuralApp on an iPhone

Anyone who has spent time in Philadelphia knows about its murals. Throughout the city, walls are covered with paintings of local heros, neighborhood culture, or representations of social concerns. They range in size from big to really freaking big.

Philly Mural

Example of a "really freaking big" mural

The problem with so much great work around the city is that before MuralApp, if you wanted to see who painted a mural, or when it was painted, you had to remember when you got home and look it up on MuralFarm. This process works, but we thought it could be improved. Now, mural lovers in Philly can use a smartphone to quickly learn about a specific mural, or use the map to discover murals in their vicinity. We hope this will deepen citizen engagement in Philadelphia through its public art.

MuralApp was built to use data feeds from MuralFarm.org, a website that catalogs and geo-locates the extensive collection of murals in the city’s Mural Arts Program. MuralFarm was also one of the public data sources released this week by OpenDataPhilly.org.

Get Involved

Like all Code for America projects, MuralApp is open source and the code can be downloaded from GitHub.  Also, if developers want to get involved with the future iterations, they should look at the MuralApp project page. We’re looking forward to using it as a model to extend to cities across the country.

Acknowledgements

MuralApp was designed and built from start to finish in under two weeks. Big thanks to Aaron Ogle for his GIS expertise, Mark Headd for his guidance and on-site testing, Mjumbe Poe for testing the app around Philadelphia, Pete Fecteau for the icons and the folks at OpenDataPhilly.org and Azavea for providing the data feed.