Real Estate Lookup

iOS App in Objective-C

1 December 2018

Skills

  • iOS
  • Objective-C
  • Xcode
  • JSON
  • git
  • AppStore deployment
About a 2 minute read.

Results

  • Heavily used by Real Estate community.
  • Citizens easily able to access property data on their phones.

Summary

Real Estate Lookup was the second iOS application released by Mecklenburg County. With over 10,000 installs, it was our most popular internally developed mobile app. In 2003, the Real Estate Lookup web site was released. Despite a complete technology refresh in 2011, the Tax Department refused to allow IT to update the design of the site.

I proposed to my manager that we create an iOS app to address mobile users. Fortunately, during the technology refresh, an API was created, so I was able to access this RESTful service to access the data. The app allowed users to look up property by a number of search criteria and also allowed them to search properties nearby, using CoreLocation. Results were shown on a MapView with drilldown to individual properties.

As the County property images were out-of-date due to budget issues, I utilized Google Streetview images through an API to provide recent photos of property.

The app was heavily used by Real Estate Agents, Home Owners’ Associations and citizens, until the app was retired in late 2018 when the back end systems were replaced with a new vendor system.

The app was conceived of and designed by me, with input from BOE staff. My work included:

  • Design of all UI and graphic elements.
  • All iOS client code.
  • Web API code in .NET.
  • T-SQL stored procedures.
  • App build and deployment via the Apple AppStore.

The app was also used as a technology demonstrator as it was a management directive that our organization be more proactive with new technology adoption.

After the original BOE product manager left the organization, his replacement had no interest in continuing support and after it became clear this situation was not going to change, the app was pulled from the store.

Side Note: It’s 2019 and BOE staff continue to think it’s perfectly fine to put simple textual content in PDF files instead of just pasting content into Sharepoint pages where it could be served in a responsive manner. Unfortunately, correcting this issue is above my pay grade.