New city map app helps refugees navigate Vienna

New city map app helps refugees navigate Vienna
Esther Vargas/Creative Commons
A new city map app designed to help refugees orientate and integrate themselves in Vienna is being created by developers in the city.

Building on the popular city map apps used by most smartphone owners, ‘New Here’ is a virtual tool that maps places that might be necessary for an asylum seeker or refugee to know about.

The app due to be launched in June is designed to help asylum seekers navigate areas such as education or training, healthcare, work, administration, or what to do with free time.

It’s available in German, English, French, Farsi, Dari and Arabic, with the app creators hoping it will give new arrivals the confidence to get out into the city.

“The app should make it possible for anyone who is new to the city to navigate themselves and give them a bit more independence so that they can lead a self-determined life,” said initiator of the city map app Anna Müller-Funk, speaking to the Kurier.

“For those who have fled their homes it is difficult to always have to ask people for help”, said Müller-Funk, adding that the app will also help NGOs. “They always have to explain again where the next German course is or where there is a gynaecologist in Vienna who speaks Arabic.”

“I left rarely left the house in two months,” says Syrian refugee Ahmad, 26, who did not know anyone in the city when he first arrived who could advise him on where to go.

“Vienna offers so much but no-one knows this. Then you stay at home, because you don’t know anyone,” he adds.

The free app will be available to download from June 20th, World Refugee Day.