Let's Share! Mapping Gets Social with CityMaps
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Is mapping still nerdy when you share it with friends and followers? CityMaps is betting that mapmaking can capture the imagination of more than just traditional map lovers. The 2012 startup recently launched a global version of their mapping app for iOS (find it free on the App Store - coming soon to Android). They built their social mapping platform on OpenStreetMap's spatial data. Rather than just offering navigation (which can be hard enough by itself), CityMaps maps provide visual displays (in the form of logos) of points of interest - eateries, stores, parks and so on. Users fill up maps with their particular points of interest and share them with friends. Users can also follow other people's CityMaps maps - including ones created by celebrities, businesses, or CityMaps themselves.
For example, if you love shopping for vintage clothing in the Big Apple, you can map out all the best spots in the East Village or Park Slope to buy retro fashion. Include favorite wine bars, and you've just created a guide to a great day in the city. John Biggs points out in a TechCrunch article that CityMaps maps are like "locative playlists." Much like musical playlists, you could woo your love interest by creating a map of where you would go on your first, soon-to-be-legendary date. In an age of individualized news feeds and social sharing, the CityMaps app makes sense - and now that Google has retired location sharing and check-ins in Google Maps, there was a gap in the social mapping market.
(We think it would be even more useful to overlay a Walkability™ layer on this app. That way, you could see not only how close the points of interest are to one another, but also get a walk rating for the area, which gives you a sense of accessibility. When you click on two logos together, a pop-up could give a score – based on a variety of factors including what types of streets are in the area, their speed limits and how complex their intersections are for walkers. Maybe version 2.0?) With the CityMaps app, mapping can be fun for everyone.