Elevators and Bathrooms at Your Fingertips

A free iPhone application helps shoppers find accessible routes, food, bathrooms in malls

Article Highlights:
  • A new iPhone application provides maps of the layouts of nearly 1,300 malls in the United States.
  • Locations of elevators, accessible bathrooms and other mall amentities make it a boon for wheelchair users.
by Bill Norman on January 28, 2010 - 9:17am

A new, no-cost iPhone application is now available to help shoppers locate facilities like elevators and accessible restrooms in the country’s larger malls.

Called FastMall, the application (app) from Web developer MindSmack may prove especially helpful to wheelchair users and others who want to chart accessible pathways among a maze of retail outlets. For outside the mall, FastMall has a helpful “remember where you parked” capability.

iPhone users can deploy FastMall by downloading the application at no charge from iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fastmall/id340656157?mt=8.

FastMall uses two systems for helping people find their way. First is GPS (Global Positioning System), useful for getting shoppers via city streets to the mall itself by depicting the shortest route on the iPhone screen. Once indoors, where GPS signals could be blocked, FastMall uses its virtual maps and touch-screen functionality to direct the user, turn by turn. 

Finding bathrooms can be accomplished by either tapping the toilet icon on the iPhone screen, or simply by shaking the entire unit. Hungry? Tap the “Find Food” button for a list of all eateries on the premises.

FastMall downloadable interactive maps are currently available for nearly 1,300 malls in the United States, plus four in Canada and one in the United Kingdom.  More are being added weekly. The first version of the app charged users 99 cents for maps of smaller malls and $2.99 for larger ones; however, the second version, due out about mid-February, will offer all maps at no charge (MindSmack will recoup costs through advertising on the phones).

An additional amenity is that iPhone users can send requests for updates to FastMall – either through their phone or via e-mail at Contact@FastMall.com – including locations of malls not already in the system, and information such as locations of bathrooms that aren’t currently mapped in existing malls.

For more information and a demo video, visit www.fastmall.com.

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