9th September 2014

Mapsum: walking a path from recreation to retail

Jonathan Field

Today’s guest blog post is from Chris McCormack and Alex Davies-Moore of Wimborne based company Mapsum, winners of our GeoVation Challenge  “How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?”. Mapsum won £26,000 to develop their idea Tagd, a service that allows anyone or any group to create, share and discover custom interactive routes that contain personalised, targeted media messages at waypoints along the routes.  The system will work with existing networks,  such as cycling clubs, local interest groups  and geocachers to get more people involved in physical activity and to discover the outdoors.

 

Mapsum logo

 

Our ambitions were small before we started on this journey with Ordnance Survey.

We entered the GeoVation contest hoping to build an app to keep kids amused while on long walks. A family could create their own trail from a computer and set virtual geocaches for the kids to find when they were out on the walk – and these digital geocaches (or treasure) would be tailored by Mum and Dad so they chimed with the kids. So a boy who liked Batman, would get Batman themed questions, quizzes or pictures as he used a mobile to follow the trail created by his parents. Neat, simple, and targeted at families who want to stop the kids getting bored on walks.

But when we worked with the GeoVation team, it was made clear that our app, while interesting, wouldn’t make a dent on the huge problem of inactivity and obesity in Britain…and the Ordnance Survey wanted us to make a dent.

Mobile TagdIn the space of one hectic weekend, we reworked our initial idea into something bigger, that has the potential to get loads more people out walking. We knew we couldn’t do much on our own, so we decided to enable the millions of organisations in the country to create their own digital information trails and treasure trail apps for their members.

So, instead of a single app aimed at families, we built a platform to enable others. You simply draw your trail and add hotspots (geo-fences) to it – when a user of your app walks into a hotspot they are ‘rewarded’ with the information you want them to have at that point (geo-trigger) – for example a picture, a question, or video or audio commentary about that area.

A film society can now make its own information trail around movie location spots and create an accompanying app to allow its members to follow it (or plug a module into their own app if they have one). A history society can create information walks around towns, and a local council can create local interest or wildlife walks and change them each season – without the need for expensive signage changes. The council can also create family trails whereby adults are accessing different information than their children – making sure everyone remains interested on the same trail.

And this easy to use digital treasure trail creator and accompanying white label mobile app (and plug and play app module) is what we call Tagd or Tagd Trails.

Tagd Logo

We are launching the beta service in September and are looking for our first customers – who will get a huge discount as long as they agree to be pestered for feedback!

Tagd is the culmination of our GeoVation project but the whole process set us on a new path, which we’ve been following. With each step, our ambitions have grown as it became clear that we were onto something.

 

Tag'd trails with Treasure Zones

 

We expanded the service so it intelligently joins the dots between a user’s location outdoors and different real world actions. Now we are making it work indoors with wifi and iBeacons. And we call this bigger platform, that connects indoors and outdoors, Orbit.

Orbit revolves around users, their needs and their current locations. For retailers, it means they can now join the dots between their online customers, nearby customers, and in-store customers. So if you were searching for an item in the online store but didn’t purchase, we can tell you it’s on offer when you are near a physical store, and let you know what else you might like when you are in the store, or tell the retailer which aisles are getting the most dwell time.

Orbit covers the full journey from online to in-store seamlessly and triggers appropriate actions and messaging along the way.

We started on some location analytics too, because without insights, how can you ensure your actions are the right ones? We track engagement online, so why not in the real world and in shop aisles?

And now we are simplifying the front end of Orbit before we open it up to interested organisations to use. We already know that someone has pitched an in-store service to a UK supermarket that would utilise Orbit technology if successful. Our fingers are crossed so hard they are almost broken.

We have a few more weeks of work to polish our white label app, then we’re ready to launch.

We want to keep on down this trail of refining and growing our ideas and products, and hopefully unearthing some digital treasure along the way. Please get in touch if you are interested in finding out more about Orbit or Tagd.

Finally, a big thank-you to Ordnance Survey for having the guts to back ideas, rather than products that are already built and road tested. In return, we’ll try our best to make a dent.

Thank You

chris@mapsum.com