Apps N'at

Locally developed apps make Pittsburghers’ smartphones some of the smartest in the nation.

Many of the hottest, most talked-about, most useful programs right now are those designed for the smallest devices in our lives—the smartphones we carry with us everywhere we go. Smartphones, like the iPhone, the various models based on Google’s Android operating system and BlackBerries, have caught the attention of some of the nation’s best software programmers, including some here in Pittsburgh. Check out three super-useful apps developed right here in our own hometown:


Winepicks is like having a knowledgeable, non-judgmental, wine-loving friend you can take with you everywhere. The team behind the app is based in Sewickley and is lead by Mark Zappala, who had the idea after returning from a trip to Italy and felt unable to adequately communicate his preferences to a sommelier. The program works as an iPhone app or as a standalone website, and the software has a vast database of 800-plus grape varietals, more than 3,500 wine-producing regions, 19,000 wineries, 612,000 bottles and 177,000 unique wines. After you rate a few wines, the app starts to “learn” what you like and is able to make palate-pleasing recommendations based on your taste, food pairings and price. Even better: The app knows what’s in the inventory at your local state store or on the wine list of many restaurants. Visit to learn more and to see videos of the app in action.

YinzCam: Steelers Gameday Plus

The YinzCam team got their sports start by bringing Penguins hockey action to iPhones, Android phones and BlackBerries, giving replays, stats and scores from around the NHL. Now, it has joined Steeler Nation with Steelers Gameday Plus.
The app adds to the game-watching experience by providing official drive-by-drive stats direct from the NFL, live box scores, depth charts, injury reports and video highlights. If you’re using the app while at Heinz Field, you can also watch real-time action from a variety of camera angles, instant replays and access the NFL’s RedZone for live “in the Red Zone” action from around the league.


In August 2009, YinzCam delivered iBurgh, the first app in the country for the iPhone and Android that enabled citizens to directly reach their city government with a complaint or concern. The concept was simple and effective: Take a photo of the offending item (like a car-swallowing pothole) within the city of Pittsburgh. The photo is then geo-tagged using the phone’s built-in GPS. Add a description, then hit submit for your complaint to be lodged with the mayor’s 311 complaint line. From there, the complaint is then funneled to the correct department. According to Priya Narasimhan, founder, CEO and president of YinzCam, iBurgh has been downloaded more than 8,000 times on the iPhone and 1,200 times on Android since its introduction, and updates are in the works, including the ability to manually move a geographical marker to compensate for slight GPS errors.

Categories: Community Feature, From the Magazine