A new Harrogate, UK, based start-up has launched MapSqueak – a free iPhone app that allows users to check a live map to see what’s being reported, where, right now about anything that might affect them or interest them whilst they’re out and about, without the clutter of old information, and without having to build a social network of followers and the followed.
MapSqueak is a map based app for every day practical and universal use.
Maps have traditionally presented information that is fairly static over a long period of time.
Founder John Hartshorn said:
Think of a road atlas – it’s provides basic information about the road network and is, at best, updated annually. The weather map is another example – it’s at least updated every few hours. But as we head out and about and get on with our daily lives, we don’t really have an easy way to check out what’s currently happening around us at the specific places we are going.
John Hartshorn said:
Our mobile devices do have apps on them that present information to us on a map. Sometimes it’s useful information, other times it’s just a peripheral feature with little real value to us.
Many apps that have some kind of map in them are focused on social check-ins, earned rewards, reviews, deals and offers. Rarely is there much to tell us what’s going on, right now, where we are headed. Are the trains running late? Am I likely to be able to breeze through check-in tonight?
Are there any reports of black ice? What events are going on in town today?
There are many web sites and apps to trawl, but information is not quick and easy to find, and it’s often not up to date. There is no service that is totally open and allows users to quickly post and see timely, crowd-sourced observations about what is going on around us.
MapSqueak fills that gap by putting the ability to post and see snippets of information on a live map and only for the period of time that they are relevant, and without the need to follow others or be followed. Such crowd sourced information is often more timely and reliable than information that is otherwise scattered across multiple, disparate official sources. When it comes to situational awareness, people are motivated to help others and, in return, they benefit from others doing the same thing.
John Hartshorn added:
A map is such an intuitive way of providing context to information that is amazes me that in the four years since the Apple app store has been around there have been very few apps that really take advantage of location. I waited for such an app and in the end decided to create it myself. Time-limited snippets of information on a live map – how universally useful is that?!
MapSqueak can be found here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/mapsqueak/id565954311