Sending that quick email or replying to your latest text while you hop onboard the subway just got a little easier to plan out.
A new project called Subspotting offers users up-to-date information on available cell phone reception and Wi-Fi signal throughout New York City’s subway system.
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Subspotting, which was first reported by CityLab, maps out the reception for riders along 21 lines, 469 station and 660 miles of track.
According to a description of the project, it is being called the first of its kind to capture cell phone reception in the entire subway system through use of a poster and iPhone app.
“Due to these ‘connectivity dead spots,’ seeing New Yorkers gathering around subway station entrances finishing up a call or sending a last text before heading underground is a common sight in the daily life of the city,” read a statement for the project.
The idea for Subspotting began years ago with founder Daniel Goddemeyer’s own experience of being a constant subway rider and always trying to find those “pockets of connectivity.” He started by mapping out the periods where he did get reception for his own personal use — but then decided that the information was something all straphangers could use.
The project has now become a collaboration between Goddemeyer — who runs the New York City-based research and design firm Object Form Field Culture — and German-based programmer Dominikus Baur.
Original data was collected using a custom iPhone app that tracked available cell phone reception. Four phones simultaneously logged information from the four main carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Each subway line was logged in both directions and a fifth phone was used to gather information for each station. The data was then cleaned up and transformed into a map.
“Until the vast network of New York City’s underground is truly connected, the Subspotting app provides riders with comprehensive information on where to make the next call or send the next text in the New York City subway,” a statement said.
From all the lines, according to Subspotting, the 7 train is considered to be the “most connected” with 79 percent cell phone reception along the entire line — which mostly runs above ground.
The “least connected” line — with only 12 percent of reception — is the G train, with small “pockets of service” around the Smith-9th Street stations and south of Court Square.