New York City is one of the few metropolises that currently has no comprehensive cell phone coverage in its subway.
Due to this missing connectivity underground, seeing New Yorkers gathering around station entrances finishing up a call or sending a last text before heading into the subway is a common sight in the daily life of New York City.
Governor Cuomo recently announced efforts to connect the New York City Subway with WiFi and even cell phone reception in the coming years, but until the vast network of the New York City underground is truly connected, cell phone reception will continue to be reliant on punctual connectivity in stations and stray signals from aboveground transmitters in its tunnels.
The Subspotting project captures, maps, and visualizes the available cell phone reception along all 21 lines, 469 stations, and 660 miles of track of the New York City Subway.
It is the first project of its kind to capture the cell phone reception in the entire subway system to provide New Yorkers—through a poster and an iPhone app—with information on where to make the next call or send the next text while underground.
Using a custom data logger, the Subspotting project captured the cell phone reception for the four major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) along all 660 miles of track of the New York City Subway over the period of two weeks.
It captures, visualizes and lets users interact with a data set that has not been logged in this entirety before.
Through a comprehensive map and iPhone app, the Subspotting project gives New York City Subway riders information about where to send the next text or make the next call until the New York City Subway is finally truly connected in the coming years.