VisitGI: BigApps Competition

BigApps is the premier showcase of NYC’s tech ecosystem. It’s a competition that empowers New York’s sharpest minds to solve the city’s toughest challenges through technology, making NYC a better place to Live, Work, Learn, and Play. Whether you’re a hacker or a maker, a designer or an investor, a novice or a pro, we provide resources that make it easy to make a difference. Come to build. Come to network. Come to win.

NYC BigApps 2014 is an initiative of NYCEDC to promote government transparency and the creation of innovative new technologies. Following NYC BigApps 2013, this year’s event is the fifth annual run of the competition and is being managed by HR&A Advisors in collaboration with Super Vision and Splash.

"Visitors needs a cool and dynamic way to explore this amazing part of New York City. Our Big Idea is to create a mobile version of our website that is as cool and fun as Governors Island is itself," Leslie Koch, President of the Trust for Governors Island.  

Our Challenge to You

Created by and for New Yorkers, Governors Island is New York City’s shared place for art and play.

Governors Island has become incredibly popular place over the past several years, and has become known as a delightful and lively public space. This summer the Island has opened its doors to more arts programming and food vendors than ever before.

Currently, The Trust for Governors Island uses its website ( and social media to provide the public with information. The website does not have a mobile version, which causes a striking disconnect between the experience of the Island – one that is defined by a sense of joy, fun, experimentation, and spontaneity – and what a visitor encounters on their handheld devices when trying to visit.

The Trust needs a mobile app or mobile web app that reflects the character and spirit of the Island, while also providing critical information that changes frequently. The app should help visitors get to the Island, navigate events and areas of interest on the Island, know which areas of the Island are accessible when, locate Island amenities, and sign up for updates on real-time changes in Island accessibility and programming.

Last year we welcomed 400,000 visitors in 40 days (85% from the five boroughs). This year we are tripling the public access season. This app will help New Yorkers visiting Governors Island immediately, and it is our hope that the product developed for this BigIdea becomes a model for other parks and public spaces across New York City and in other urban spaces.

Product Wish List

This mobile or mobile web app should provide the following features:
• Maps and directions to the Island.
• Map and navigational tool for use on the Island.
• Integration into our existing wayfinding design.
• Calendar of events and exhibits on the Island that updates in real time.
• Integrated trip planner.
• Food vendor and dining options on the Island that update in real time.
• Real time construction updates and information.
• Ferry schedule and ticketing information
• Points of interest on the Island.

The Genie’s Lamp
• Allows visitors to provide feedback about Governors Island.
• Guided audio tours about the different areas of the Park.
• Integration with our social media handles.


  • VIP treatment when you come to the Island 

    Promotion through Island website, social media, and email blasts to all Island programming organizations.

  • Promotion through NYC and Company in all outreach to media and public presentations.

    Promotion to our 400,000+ visitors through onsite signage and within the app.

Evaluation Criteria

• How creatively the app reflects the spirit of Governors Island as a place at the intersection of art and play.
• How well it provides visitors with a fun and integrated view of critical information about the Island.
• How well it engages visitors.

BigIdea Mentor

Elizabeth Rapuano

Can field any related questions

Elizabeth is the Director of Marketing for The Trust for Governors Island. Her innovative marketing approach has increased Island visitation from 56,000 to 398,000 seasonally.



Contact us for data on Governors Island:

Includes programming and events information, our map and way finding strategy, historical information on the Island, ferry and logistical information, and whatever else you may find necessary. 

Things of Note

Do you have an idea on how to improve our challenge?

Contact us to visit the Island and brainstorm ideas:

Winning Team

A breakdown of all of our notable events, past and present.

Time to shine!

What is NYC BigApps?

BigApps is the premier showcase of NYC's tech ecosystem. It's a competition that empowers New York's sharpest minds to solve the City's toughest challenges through technology, making NYC a better place to Live, Work, Learn, and Play. Whether you're a hacker or an engineer, a designer or an investor, a novice or a pro, we provide resources that make it easy to make a difference. Come to build. Come to solve. Come to win.


Use this simple form to create your App Project Page. 

Name of Project/App

First Name

Last Time

Email Address

Categories you're product fits into (Select up to two)

Live                           Work                  Learn                 Play

Issues your product is addressing:

Arts & Culture             Economic             Mobility Eduction

Health                          Housing               Parks & Open Space

Public Safety Small Business Sustainablity & Resiliency 

Transportation Other

Stage your product is currently in (Select one)

Need Helps            In Progress           Beta

Date TBD

Solve this Issue

Product category your project best fits into
If your project solves a BigIdea Challenge, please choose your Challenge in the menu below. (If you are solving your very own Challenge, please select "Choose Your Own Adventure".)
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