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Review: CuteTown San Francisco for iPad – Create a 3D Map of the City by the Bay

Review: CuteTown San Francisco for iPad – Create a 3D Map of the City by the Bay

When Apple announced iOS 6 at WWDC 2012, they touted their new, in-house Maps with a unique feature called Flyover. The idea of Flyover was simple – Apple used vector based images to reconstruct cities around the world. Since then, others (including Google) have begun to recreate the world in high resolution graphics, and Cutetown for iPad is a unique way for you to add your touch to a 3D mapped world.


Cutetown San Francisco (free for iPad) is a simplified 3D (vector) mapping game/tool for iOS. As stated in the name, it is specific to the San Francisco area, which includes the majority of San Francisco and part of Stanford’s campus, as well.

cutetown start

Starting out with Cutetown, you’re walked through a tutorial which teaches the basics of constructing a building and adding features like windows, doors, room, etc. From there, you can change colors of the building and publish it to your map.

cutetown build

While having the tutorial was nice, it still left me with a wide array of questions about how the app actually worked or what I was trying to accomplish. After completing the tutorial, you’re taken to the map of the SF area, and assigned your 1st task (construct your first building).

cutetown map

To construct, you scroll around on a basic Google maps satellite view of the city, find your desired building, and drop a pin on the structure. Then you map the corners of the building to set the foundation, and get started on your building.

Verdict: [rating: 3]

cutetown comment

The idea of being able to build a 3D map of your world is quite interesting. Aside from being able to construct buildings in the San Francisco area, other Cutetown users are all contributing to the same map. The required account for Cutetown doesn’t give a lot of details about this, but it appears that as buildings are built (and approved), they appear on your map. Other users can also comment on each others structures and create conversation. While the concept is neat, Cutetown does seem to have some glitches to work out, as well. I experienced the app freezing and crashing various times in my testing.

If you’re looking for a way to feel like an architect, and want to put your iPad to use, check out Cutetown San Francisco – free in the App Store.


  • Great graphics
  • Can be entertaining
  • Free


  • Unstable (as of version 0.3.1)
  • Could use better help menus
  • No “off-line” mode