Twenty-first Century Technology Unlocks 18th Century Town

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City of Williamsburg debuts wayfinding app for citizens and visitors.

With this new app, we’re providing a single pane of glass into the City.

The City of Williamsburg has launched a new smartphone app – WILLIAMSBURG WAYFINDER – that transforms the way residents, businesses and visitors interact with City government, local attractions and businesses. As with CITY 411, the app introduced in 2011, residents can submit and track non-emergency service requests, photos, and text messages, but WILLIAMSBURG WAYFINDER adds many new functions seamlessly and easily, from mobile Property Information Service (PIS) and Economic Development resources to the restaurants and shops closest to you.

“With this new app, we’re providing a single pane of glass into the City,” said Information Technology Director Mark Barham. “The WILLIAMSBURG WAYFINDER replaces CITY 411 and enables users to reach across all departments – from planning and permitting to taxes and facility rental. By capturing, routing and managing service requests, the system will create a convenient form of communication among departments, resulting in faster response times.”

In 2013, the City of Williamsburg Judged one of the Top Digital Cities in the United States by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) in its first year of eligibility.

The City has offered some of the same functionality before, but there’s even less distinction now between who the user is -- resident, visitor, business owner – and what kinds of functions are most accessible. WILLIAMSBURG WAYFINDER is also geo-location based, allowing the user to customize the experience whenever and wherever it’s convenient.

“More and more residents are using smartphone apps for everything from travel and education to banking and shopping. WILLIAMSBURG WAYFINDER allows citizens to communicate with the City the same way they’re communicating and interacting in all areas of their lives,” said City Manager Jackson Tuttle.

For instance, a visitor to Williamsburg wants to take her morning run, so she uses the app to access a map and description of the William & Mary Loop, a 2.1 mile route ringing the campus, which is one of the Great City Walks. Around noon, she’s walking downtown and wants to find the closest restaurant, so she uses the Shop and Dine list and find out what’s nearby, how to get there, what’s on the menu, and place a call. If during her visit she wonders if it might be possible to relocate her business to Williamsburg, she goes back to the app to get a list of available properties, with descriptions, photos and links to the real estate broker. If she’s wondering about a house she’s just driven by, all she has to do is use the app to access the Property Information Service to find out the most recent sale price.

WILLIAMSBURG WAYFINDER can be downloaded for free from both the Apple App Store and the Android Market.

The City of Williamsburg, Virginia, established in 1699, is home to two internationally renowned institutions: the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (, and the College of William and Mary (, the second oldest college in the United States. Follow us on Facebook, and twitter @WilliamsburgGov.

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Kate Hoving, Communications Specialist

Mark Barham, Director of Information Technology
since: 10/2009
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