18-year-old Speeds Up Korean Bus System

18-year-old Speeds Up Korean Bus System

We are in Seoul, a metropolis of 12 million inhabitants that has one of the best public transport systems of the planet. Commuters have just added another tool to their already impressive belt of public transport. This time the leap forward wasn’t the work of engineers sitting in skyscraper offices, but it was taken by an adolescent computer addict in his bedroom. While the majority of the Koreans are worried about getting into university at his age, 18-year-old Juwan Yoo prefers to develop software applications. As a result he’s been on just about every TV show in Korea. “I was developing software since I was in elementary school” “I had to develop something because the Iphone was coming to Korea. I started thinking” “I am searching for near by bus stops from here” Thanks to Juwan, about 8 million South Koreans know what time their bus will arrive. The application downloads data from an official Seoul traffic website and shows it in real time on an Apple smartphone. “You turn on this application. In the menu bar you choose the bus stop” ¿Do you see this bus ID? You have to type the ID number here and you find the stop. “The application loads when the bus will arrive. Now it´s one minute left” “Here it comes. That bus is our bus, number 162. We have to go and take it”. My application is for free. I´m not been paid by somebody from Apple or Telecom. “I´m sometimes see people using Iphone from the bus stops, people using my application” I would like to say: Hi, I made this application, the developer it´s me, but it´s kind of embarrashing. Our destinations it´s here and we are here. So we have to take off the bus right now. Last year, Yuwan Joo reached the height of his local celebrity when a provincial government banned the application for using public data. Yuwan and his application suddenly made headlines across the country. The story made him so popular and he received so much support that the ban was finally lifted. “This story made me more popular. And because of that, the Korean government is preparing a law for opening the public IPS with all the government information” “I think it´s kind of cool because I made a good movement” Although his parents insist that he study instead of spending so much time with computers, Yuwan has already built a second version of his application. Today he wants to show it to a friend who works in a Seoul computer store. Despite his obvious talent, Yuwan insists that he hasn’t had any job offers yet. However, in time he’d like to become a professional programmer of video games. For now though the millions of Koreans who use the city’s advanced public transport can continue to count on this extraordinary whizzkid to make their daily commute just even quicker.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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