How We Built a Cross-Platform Mobile App for the Seattle Landmark Space Needle 

# Mobile App Development
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  • Created a Mobile App for Space Needle, Visited by over 1.3 Million Guests Annually: developed a custom mobile app and content management system for the historic Seattle landmark to cover business-critical needs in a limited amount of time.
  • Diverse Tech Expertise in AR and 4D Features Development: developed a cross-platform mobile application from scratch balancing React Native, Unity, and Swift.
  • Ongoing Collaboration Resulted in 2x Infrastructure Cost Decrease: gained the trust of our client and as of early 2023, team from SPD Technology had worked on the complete redesign of the Space Needle’s media platform, ticketing system, and software for physical devices, which dramatically reduced the company’s infrastructure costs. 


Space Needle is an observation tower in Seattle, WA, the U.S. The construction of the tower was completed in 1961, and it has since become a must-see landmark in the State of Washington. Approximately 1.3 million guests visit the Space Needle annually, and over 60 million visitors have visited the tower since its inauguration.

Team Size:


The client’s mobile application allows users to add tickets to the app and receive complimentary digital photos delivered directly to their mobile device. The users can download and share photos on social media instantly.

Goals and objectives

  • Improve the Attendance Numbers for Space Needle: Enhance the visitor experience and increase engagement by offering our custom software development expertise.
  • Develop a Mobile App and a Content Management System: Build modern software with features including the ability to connect a camera or device by using Wi-Fi or an API/Webhook system; texts, videos, images, AR content, and panoramic images support; usage of QR codes, bar codes, location data, and user interface buttons; saving visitor data.
  • Integration with a Third-Party Vendor: Connect the solution to the ticketing system to share information about tickets and visitors in conjunction with GuestX.

Project challenge

  1. 6-7 Months Deadline: develop new software in time for the start of a business season.
  2. Building an App with React Native: working with the nascent technology at that moment.
  3. AR Integration: implement Augmented Reality features into React Native, which present additional challenges from a technical perspective.


We started completely from scratch, without any previous code or legacy applications. Our team handled both the actual development of the mobile application and the Content Management System.

The community of React Native developers was very small at that moment, so this framework was lacking out of the box solutions that established programming languages and frameworks usually have. Our team was forced to come up with our own creative ways to provide the desired features.

One of the most memorable solutions was a Panorama feature – a view from the highest point of the Space Needle tower. The visitor should see the 360° panorama of Seattle through the app with added pins pointing to restaurants or museums, for example. React Native couldn’t handle a 360° overview, so we had to connect hundreds of photos to make this function work properly as the client had envisioned it.

Integrating Augmented Reality into the React Native application was also very challenging because AR used Unity. To connect React Native with Unity, we need to code a native bridge using programming languages like Swift.

Tech Stack

  • Java 8 Java 8
  • Spring Spring
  • Hibernate Hibernate
  • React Native React Native
  • Angular Angular
  • Redux Redux
  • Docker Docker
  • Google Cloud Google Cloud

Our results

We have successfully delivered all the planned functionality of the client’s app on time and within a planned budget.

  1. Fully Functional Release on Time: Completed the first release of an application with all basic features in July 2018, right in time for the business season to maximize customer experience and satisfaction. 
  2. 1,000,000+ App Downloads: Gained popularity among the visitors of the tower, with impressive app download numbers for both iOS and Android in the year of the launch.  
  3. Enabled Metadata Collection on Visitors with Guest X: Provided the capability for the mobile application to collect metadata from events so that business analysts could analyze the user experience and suggest improvements.
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