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Blake Jones - bjones@poststar.com Lake George resident Scott Flagel demonstrates his Lake George app for iPhones and iPads on Monday, May 17, 2010, during a web conference with the app developer. Flagel provided information he compiled about the area as well as links to tourism information website for the app, which was created by a Pittsburgh app developer. The app is expected to hit the Apple App Store this week. Blake Jones

LAKE GEORGE -- An informational "app" about Lake George is on its way, just in time for the tourism season.

Lake George resident Scott Flagel said he got the idea to create an application for use on Apple Inc. devices in April after purchasing one of the first iPads in Albany.

Flagel, who used to own a Lake George motel and runs an informational travel website called www.lakegeorgeinfo.com, started shopping for an app designer on May 1. Just a few short weeks later, his app is being reviewed by Apple. It is expected to hit the iTunes App Store later this week, and will be available for download on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for free.

The Lake George app, which is expected to be the first about the travel destination, will offer information about lodging, activities, attractions, events and restaurants.

The lodging and events sections link directly to the lake George Chamber of Commerce website; the restaurants tab links to www.lakegeorgerestaurants.com.

"There's no point to reinvent the wheel until I get advertisers," Flagel said of linking to other groups' sites.

Other categories feature information compiled by Flagel, such as hiking spots and interactive maps that show how far the user is from a particular destination.

Flagel said he invested a few thousand dollars to have the app developed by a Pennsylvania-based technology firm called True Fit Solutions, and hopes to eventually make money by selling priority advertising space to businesses listed under the various directories.

Josh Gretz, a senior software engineer with True Fit who worked on the Lake George app, said the platform has many functions for individuals and businesses, from offering information to generating revenue.

"Pretty much every business we come across has an interest in developing an app," Gretz said.

The submission process with Apple is fairly simple, he said, and usually clears within seven to 10 business days.

Flagel's app may well be the first for Lake George, but he doesn't expect it to be the last. He said the technology is useful for anybody who wants on-the-spot information, which will be especially handy for visitors to Lake George.

"Apps are a one-stop guide to getting specific information," Flagel said, adding that it appeals to a younger demographic. "This generation knows to go to the apps store. Kids can use it on their iPhone to search for arcades and beaches; it isn't just for adults."

Luisa Craige-Sherman, executive director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has considered launching its own app, but hasn't taken any steps to develop it yet.

She believes apps are user-friendly and attractive to younger visitors, but she doesn't think it will replace traditional forms of marketing.

"It's going to take a while to catch on to the majority or mainstream of visitors," she said. "We tend to have a demographic visitor in our area that is a little older."

Craige-Sherman said word-of-mouth remains the No. 1 marketing tool for a destination like Lake George, followed by visual advertising campaigns.

She said technology provides quick access to travel information, but potential visitors still need some type of visual prompt that catches their attention and plants a seed.

"There has to be some impetus to get somebody to go online and type in Lake George," she said.

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