If you’ve ever gone on a road trip through the US, you know how maddening keeping track of mobile coverage areas can be. Enter “Coverage?”, an app that compiles data coverage maps across all major US cellular carriers.
Available for the iPhone and iPad ($1.99 on the iTunes Store), Coverage gives you the ability to plan out your trips with mobile data in mind. And since it downloads the map data to your device, you don’t need an internet connection to use it.
The app is a dead simple alternative to fishing through coverage maps on carrier websites, and it’s something that would be increasingly useful to users as they begin to adopt multiple mobile devices. That’s why we’ve selected it for VentureBeat’s Mobile App Spotlight, which highlights some of the most interesting new apps.
Coverage gives you access to 3G, 2G and roaming maps from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. When using the app, you can toggle the coverage maps from each carrier individually, and each is designated with a specific color. With multiple maps, the colors are combined to resemble something like a weather report from your local TV news station. The Maps cover the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The app is universal, so you only need to purchase it once to use it on your iPad and iPhone.
Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard, who make up the app development team Two Steps Beyond, describe themselves as “technomads.” They came up with the idea for Coverage after setting up their RV to work in a Colorado wildflower field last summer, where they expected to receive strong signals from both Sprint and AT&T. Unfortunately, they were quickly informed that they were roaming on both networks. They created the app so that they could better plan out where they can travel and have guaranteed mobile data access.
Dunphy tells us that they create Coverage’s maps manually through a time and labor-intensive process, using the carrier-provided maps as a reference. The next major version of the app will add 4G maps and user-interface improvements. In the future, they plan to implement social features to allow users to report their own mobile coverage findings — something which would make the app even more useful. Dunphy says they have been approached by a partner to port the app over to Windows Phone 7, and they’re currently seeking a partner to create an Android version.
Check out a video of Coverage in action below:
Developers: Want to get your app featured like Coverage? Then submit your app for consideration!
The Intel AppUp developer program is sponsoring VentureBeat’s Mobile App Spotlight. However, VentureBeat’s editorial staff selects apps for the program according to its customary editorial standards, without input from Intel.