Monday, February 18, 2013

Milan Subway Map

For the last week or so, I've been working on an app for browsing a map of subway and suburban trains in Milan. Well, here's the lite version and the one without adds. Now, let's have a short postmortem.

What went well

I managed to get hold of a subway map in a vector format. I only had to add the missing purple line and make some modifications, so it could be used on Android. Thanks to that, the quality of the map is very hight and it can be zoomed in indefinitely without the loss of any detail. Isn't that cool!

I also had a chance to practice my icon design skills and this time I'm really proud of myself. Just look at the color choice, the mild gradient and the simple shape of the letter M. Hell, I'm getting better and better at it.

What went wrong

Although the idea behind the app was pretty neat, I failed to check Google Play for similar ones. It turns out, that there are a couple apps which do almost the same thing. Their usability may not be as good, but they add some other features, like a detailed map of the suburban network or a satellite view.


SVG images are great! They take little space, look good even when zoomed in and you don't have to provide a separate version for each screen density. I'll definitely write the next post about how to use them.
Next time though, I have to be more careful when choosing an idea to implement. It's better to commit an hour or two checking Google Play for similar apps than to loose days/weeks to create something utterly unoriginal and with a strong competition.


  1. OK so vector images = better for this sort of app. Also another key lesson to look at the competition. Although as per one of your previous posts, does this also have too small a market, being just one city ?
    Thanks again for the blog. How has it done so far ?

    1. You're right this is just one city... but it's a big city and there are 2 million people using public transport every day (I'm not sure where I read it, but it got stuck in my mind ever since)! The app is doing pretty well with the best ratio of people downloading and then keeping it. It's still more than 50%! I really like that it's so simple, yet useful and of good quality. Also, people use it on a daily basis, so it boosts the amount of ad impressions I get. With around 500 active installs it remains one of my favourite apps I've created so far.