Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Pilgrims will be able to follow the papal leader’s upcoming visit to Philadelphia (and plan their own) using an app developed by IBM.

Pope Francis? There’s an app for that.

That’s right. Philadelphia is rolling out a new app in advance of the Pope’s upcoming visit in September. The app will help pilgrims find events and routes related to Pope Francis’s visit, along with information about cultural institutions and events for families. It will even translate the Pope’s speeches into various languages via captions.

The app is the work of IBM, which is rolling out tools and systems for nonprofit organizations and causes. The Church is one of them. The City of Philadelphia and the 2015 World Meeting of Families worked with IBM to build out the app—which I sincerely hope is called Appostolic See.

The program is related to IBM’s effort to use its Watson computer to build a “Siri for cities,” so to speak. IBM has launched a number of nonprofit or public apps, including a special-ed reading app for Argentina, a medical appointment calendar for seniors in Ireland, and disaster-relief apps for places across the world.

Pope Francis will only be traveling in Philadelphia for a few days (September 18–29). But the app will be useful for much longer: The city intends to adapt it as a play-by-play for the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

    A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

  2. Maria Romano stands behind one of her three children, Jennifer, 10, as she gets something to eat in their Harlem apartment in New York Thursday, June 3, 2005
    Equity

    Why HUD Wants to Restrict Assistance for Immigrants

    A proposal by Ben Carson’s agency would eject immigrant families from public housing to make way for the "most vulnerable." Housing advocates aren't buying it.

  3. A large crowd packs Independence Mall, with Philadelphia buildings in the background.
    Environment

    What Happened to Earth Day?

    In the beginning, it was a policy-shaking event that awakened a new generation of activists. But now even environmentalists have misgivings about it.

  4. Tech workers sit around a table on their laptops in San Francisco, California
    Life

    America’s Tech Hubs Still Dominate, But Some Smaller Cities Are Rising

    Despite established urban tech hubs, some smaller cities are attracting high-tech jobs with lower living costs, unique talent pools, and geographic diversity.

  5. A toddler breathes from a nebulizer while sitting in a crib.
    Environment

    How Scientists Discovered What Dirty Air Does to Kids’ Health

    The landmark Children’s Health Study tracked thousands of children in California over many years—and transformed our understanding of air pollution’s harms.