The first GPS w/ crowdsourced voice guidance

#5 Product of the DaySeptember 16, 2015
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Thanks for the hunt, Jeff! Hello Product Hunters! Marc Regan here. I’m one of the cofounders of Mapkin. Here’s a quick backstory on why we’re on this journey: GPS has two jobs - to pick the best route, and to guide you along it. Many apps have become very good at picking routes, but there’s been little innovation in the voice instructions that help you safely follow the route. We believe this is the next big opportunity in navigation - creating a safer, less stressful, more natural driving experience. When you’re driving with Mapkin, you’re hearing a mix of high visibility landmarks, local tips, and street names that more closely resembles the way a person sitting next to you would give directions. We’ve added more variations and some light ‘human’ touches to make our navigation assistant feel a bit more personable without being distracting. Users submit the tips we use in our instructions, so the more tips we have in an area, the better Mapkin is. I’ll be on here all day with my cofounder Jake. Happy to answer any questions! Marc
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@marcregan This is awesome! Hope you guys will bring it to Europe soon ;-)
This is a very cool idea, from an awesome BOSTON company! Check out their video:
@jsneedles A huge shoutout to @lonelysandwich and his talented team for producing this amazing video. Huge fan of their work and all they do to help the startup community.
Hey Product Hunt. I work on the backend here at Mapkin. Happy to answer any questions you have about the app or the tech.
Hey Jake & Marc! I heard about this almost a year ago from Evan and have been excited to try it out. How long have you been working on mapkin? What can you tell me about the backend, how's it work?
@mscccc Hey Mike. Great question. We’ve built a flexible narration engine that dynamically combines on-the-ground facts about parts of the route (right turn on Smith Street; turn is at a traffic light) with user submitted subjective content (this is a tight turn; warn to slow down before turning; mention the pink house at the corner). This allows it to create rich dialogues which the app speaks at the appropriate points as you drive: “In a quarter mile at the pink house, turn right on Smith Street”, and then just before the turn: “Turn right at the traffic light onto Smith Street. Be sure to slow down, it’s a tight turn.” I'm leaving out many, many delicate details, but that's the gist. At a lower level, we’re a Python shop and touch almost all of the awesome Python geospatial libraries when creating any given route.
Such a great concept. My girlfriend always describes driving directions to me in bizarre ways so as long as she's not writing your algos this app will be AWESOME.
@hijonathan Ha ha, thanks. Well we are hiring :) Is she a software developer?
@hijonathan @marcregan congrats on the launch!