Bristol API Challenge winners launch ‘Tiny Tours’ app

Back in January, the UrbanThings team travelled to Bristol to help run the first Bristol API Hackathon with Connecting Bristol. The day’s brief was to produce an innovative solution to a transport-related problem, and after careful consideration, the day’s worthy winners were Blue Sparrow Apps.

After celebrating their win, Blue Sparrow continued to develop their idea, and sixth months later have launched their free Tiny Tours app on Android and iOS.

Launched just in time for the summer holidays, Tiny Tours targets parents and children in the Bristol area, helping them find places to go and experiences to enjoy as a family.  Excitingly for us, it uses the UrbanThings Bristol API to power its journey planning suggestions, displaying easy-to-use public transport routes that take you and your family on a quick and easy day out.


UrbanThings CEO Carl Partridge praised the app, saying: “it’s very rewarding to see this app being brought to fruition, and we hope it will encourage other Bristol developers to sign up to the next event in the autumn.”

Congratulations to James, Laura and Ryan at Blue Sparrow, we look forward to seeing how the app grows and we will certainly showcase it at a future Hackathon!

Shape the future of our apps: become an UrbanThings beta tester

As UrbanThings expands TripChecker into new cities and countries, we rely on user feedback to ensure it continues to be a great app with accurate travel information.

If you’d like to be part of that process, then there’s still time to join our all-new beta testers group. Our testers will receive exclusive early access to new versions of our apps and a chance to shape the future of our products.

To be a beta tester it doesn’t matter where you live, but at the moment we’re particularly interested in hearing from smartphone users in the Sydney area.

If you would like to join the UrbanThings beta tester family, please click here.


A Possible Misuse of Confluence

Here at UrbanThings, we use Confluence to improve collaboration within the team. Confluence is great for linking JIRAs to collaborative spaces and for tracking the team’s activities between projects.

But… it turns out that it’s also useful for the far more important task of sharing reviews of restaurants with each other. A development we can entirely blame on the UberEats money bomb launch, and the ever-so-slightly possibly-connected Just Eat scratch card voucher giveaway outside Old Street station.

And in case the boss is reading this; there is an obvious business benefit to this valuable work: satisfying the team’s hunger will make us work harder! 😉

Now if only there was a free add-on to allow everyone to give marks out of ten…


K10, Japanese – “Excellent chicken gyoza”
Hungry Donkey, Greek – “fluffy tasty bread”
Homeslice, Pizza – “crispy and light dough base”
The Falafel Queen, Falafel – “falafel-tastic” (just in case you weren’t sure it was a falafel place…)
Hop, Vietnamese – “Tasty aromatic beef hotbox”

Where can you use TripChecker?

The UrbanThings story began back in 2011 when we released London BusChecker.  Since then, we’ve expanded to more cities and launched more apps, with more than 2 million downloads to date.


We recently launched our latest app TripChecker, the app combines all the BusChecker locations into one handy package, and aims to be your take-anywhere transit companion.

Plus, we now support trains, trams, tubes, buses and even cycle hire!


Below is a list of the locations currently supported – keep checking our blog to see how the list grows.

• London
• Great Britain
• New York
• Washington DC
• Chicago
• Baltimore
• Santiago

And as always, download TripChecker now! 🙂

Google Play  |  iTunes

Introducing: Lara (tea drinker)

In the first of a series of blogs introducing members of the UrbanThings team, our newest starter Lara Ruffle Coles explains how she got into Android development and what she’s been up to in her first high-octane week.

After working in the media industry as a client and account manager, a desire to innovate and learn new skills led me to take a break from working. After considering what to do next, I began teaching myself Android app development, and have now released two apps on the Google Play store. Last week I took the next step and started my first role in the bright and shiny world of digital media as UrbanThings’ Support Technologist.

I have always been interested in new technology and first learnt how to use a computer – an Apple Mac, aged nine as my father worked in desktop publishing. He would bring home work computers for the family to use whenever his work computer was upgraded, and I spent many hours playing Solitaire and Tetris on a PowerBook Duo.

Moving forward to 2010, I began my Android journey with my first ever smartphone, the HTC Desire. It was a complete revelation and I was in love, and of course I was immediately infinitely cooler than all iPhone users. Unfortunately, at work, everyone has an iPhone, but I am rolling with the punches…


At UrbanThings I will be working closely with the whole team, and will be running app user support, coordinating our social media profile, and developing elements of our apps as part of my on-going Android developer training. My first week was quite busy as we were launching our newest app TripChecker on the Wednesday, but thankfully there was enough time for pizza and ice cream on my first day – the making of any great team!

In preparing for the TripChecker launch I got my head stuck into Google AdWords, sent out my first press release, and prepared for our launch party with a slideshow and some Spotify playlist suggestions – Queen was unfortunately vetoed. Boooo. Wednesday’s launch party was very successful, alcohol and pizza were consumed, and we had a few hours off the next day to rehydrate – read and see more here.

I finished my week with some blogging (in the unusually peaceful office), whilst the rest of the team travelled west for Bristol API Hackathon 2, before firing off a round of launch party posts. All in all it was a very satisfying first week.

Over the next few weeks I will be consolidating our social media profiles, starting a number of research tasks with our Head of Platforms, and dipping into the UrbanThings Android code base.

All is a go in East London’s Tech City – aka Silicon Roundabout, so please do keep following our blog to learn more.


Lara’s Top 5 Life Goals

• Visit Japan during cherry blossom season (ETA 2017)
• Keep singing in my two choirs until my voice is kaput
• Acquire one of the terraced houses facing Greenwich Park
• Look after two Scottish Fold cats (just like Taylor Swift)
• Develop an amazing award-winning millionaire making app to achieve number three

TripChecker Launch Party

On Wednesday evening we celebrated the release of our latest app TripChecker with a perfectly sized launch party at Hex Cycling.

It was a great opportunity to reward the team’s hard work with a few beers and the odd glass of wine (or two or three). We also invited a number of our business friends and the Accelerator family – thanks very much for coming!

Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to download Tripchecker (and BusChecker) from the App Stores:

Google Play  |  iTunes

A sneaky peek at Trip Checker

Our newest baby is nearing its delivery date.

Trip Checker builds on UrbanThings’ signature apps to deliver a unique, global experience.  A true ‘take anywhere’ transit app that gives up-to-date travel information and live times in key cities around the globe.

We’re launching next week – but you can check out the main site here to whet your appetite!

Next Bristol API Developer Engagement Day Confirmed

We’re pleased to confirm the date and theme for our next Developer Engagement Event in Bristol – “A Cleaner, Leaner Bristol”.

How can we use data to help create a city that has better air quality, and has fewer single-occupancy vehicles guzzling gas and contributing to congestion?

  • Making it easier to use electric vehicles by finding nearby free charging points.
  • Maximising the capacity of existing vehicles on the roads, whether this be buses, cars, or other vehicles.
  • Promoting the use of other sustainable forms of transport.

As usual, there are some top prizes up for grabs for the most innovative solutions, including a cash prize of £100 on the day, and a chance at winning the year’s grand prize that includes an app design workshop worth £1,000 from leading creative agency Big Mallet.

More details will be unveiled nearer the time; the last event sold out so sign up here for a ticket while places are still available!

Blue Sparrow win the first ‘Keep Bristol Moving’ challenge event

dev_engagement_jan_2016_smallOn 23rd January, an energetic group of developers and innovators came together at the Watershed in Bristol for the first in a series of transport challenges using The Bristol API.

The day’s brief was to use the Bristol API to build an innovative app or solution that helps to solve a transport-related problem.  Transport gurus and expert software developers were on-hand to provide coding advice and top tips.

After a tremendous turnout (we sold out!) and a hard day’s coding, the judges awarded top prize to Blue Sparrow Apps for their innovative app targeted at families travelling together. Their prototype solution mashed up journey planning, transportation routes and POI locations to help families plan a day out on public transport. A proof-of-concept iPhone app presented a journey plan together with an interactive list of useful locations along the route such as cafes, public facilities and tourist attractions.


Blue Sparrow Apps win themselves £100, plus a shot at the year’s grand prize; a digital design workshop worth £1,000 from leading creative agency Big Mallet.

If you’d like to attend the next event, then watch this space for news, as spaces go fast! Or, if you’re a Bristol API user, make sure your account is configured to receive email updates to receive details direct to your inbox.

Launching The Bristol API

The Bristol API logo

Today we joined forces with Bristol City Council to launch The Bristol API, the first city-wide API platform outside of London to launch in the United Kingdom. The Bristol API is a data platform that will provide developers with free access to a wealth of transportation and smart city data from Bristol and beyond.

UrbanThings was delighted to win the tender to provide this solution and have been working hard behind the scenes to deliver a robust, scalable solution to meet the needs of one of the UK’s smartest digital cities.

If you’re interested in putting the API through its paces, register for an account, then check out the online documentation to get started. There’s even a suite of Mobile SDKs to build a mobile app in minutes. If you’d like a practical demonstration, we’ll be running a transport-themed Challenge Event at Watershed on Saturday 23 January. The developer of the most innovative creation will win a cash prize, with the year’s overall winner being awarded £1,000 worth of customised app design assets from leading creative agency Big Mallet.  Register here.

Are you a data publisher, or local authority?  If you’d like your own Smart City API, get in touch – UrbanThings can work with you to launch a branded platform to publish your data and connect with developers in new and innovative ways.