Apps should be published by content authors, not just developers. This project will make location-based apps low-cost and simple.
Mapocosm is taking down the cost and complexity of creating mobile apps, putting capability in the hands of the content creator rather than an app developer. Nearly anything that can be expressed in terms of location-based content can be self-published as a mobile app, and distributed for both Android and iPhone. Which opens whole new markets to the possibility of using mobile apps to reach out and get people involved – from small businesses to organizations to social networking. By making the cost so low, mobile apps can even be created for one-time events.
Example – A Self-Published Tour Guide
No special skills were required to create the content, just using "CREATE MAP" from Google My Places; you can see the original content on Google Maps. Mapocosm did the rest to publish this tour guide as a mobile app! The best part is that StevesTravelGuide.com does not need to spend more money to update their app – they just keep their content fresh in Google Maps.
Location-based Mobile Apps Reaching Many Markets
Here are just a few examples where location-based mobile apps can be a huge benefit to organizations of all sizes, and even become part of social networking, but I'm sure you can think of many others...
- A park ranger needs to give visitors up-to-date maps with trails, facilities, first aid, marked off-limits zones, and park features to visit.
- A restaurant chain would like their patrons to easily find any of their restaurants and get specific information like photos, hours of operation, and phone numbers.
- The owner of a golf course wants to market to newcomers before they visit, and give a gift that is useful to members and their guests.
- The organizer of a First Night celebration has dozens of venues, each with a schedule for the night's activities, with phone numbers and links.
- A town's chamber of commerce or scout troop makes a fundraiser by charging local businesses a fee to be showcased in a mobile app about their town.
- A real estate agent publicizes her current inventory of properties, complete with pictures and descriptions, and even brags about past successes.
- A college campus provides a mobile app to all students, faculty, and visitors, showing all building locations with pictures, descriptions, and phone numbers.
- A non-profit has many projects and would like to publicize their work to potential donors as a mobile app, instead of all those mailers that get thrown away.
- An outlet mall takes down their confusing directories that never seem to be where you need them, and makes a free mobile app directory available to all shoppers.
- A county fair publishes an app showing all visitors the locations and descriptions of each vendor or service provider.
- Hikers, bikers, skiers, and runners like to share trail information, and clubs can use a mobile app to recruit new members and help visitors get oriented.
- A family creates their own family almanac that contains each person's residence, photo, contact information, favorite links, etc.
Your Custom App, Rewards, and Agents
Most of the rewards for this Kickstarter project represent various levels of customized mobile apps. Your pledge today can be redeemed when this project has reached enough automation to allow you to self-publish a mobile app that will help in your business, organization, or personal life.
What can you do with your custom mobile app? Anything. You can give it away for free. Post it on services like Google Play. Charge money if you think it has value. Post it privately for friends, employees, or other privileged users.
One level of rewards is for "design agent", a person that creates and publishes custom mobile app content on behalf of the end customer, charging them whatever profit is appropriate for their service, and getting discounts from Mapocosm. Although it may be relatively simple to create location-based content, many small businesses are used to receiving services through trusted local IT service providers and marketing firms. So design agents will fill the gap and enable far more organizations to create their own mobile apps.
How Does This Work?
Mapocosm solves the problem of creating low-cost mobile apps by separating three elements:
mobile app software (released as Map Explorer)
content creation (3rd party websites and tools)
automated production (this kickstarter project)
Mobile App Software – Map Explorer
The first phase of Mapocosm was to build the Map Explorer mobile app, which is now available on Google Play. You can use Map Explorer today to try out these self-publishing concepts and see for yourself. Map Explorer is adaptable, so the same software can be repackaged with anyone's map data to produce a custom mobile app.
Map Explorer lets you search websites for custom maps and download them to your mobile device. "Custom maps" are all of the interesting sets of locations and routes that people create and post to websites, but that you can't see with the standard Google "Maps" app. Or, you can create your own maps and share with others.
Whatever the source of the maps, you can enjoy a mobile app experience which is far more interactive than a web browser for exploring maps and location services. To find out more, check out the YouTube video about Map Explorer.
For example, Google Maps My Places is easily used by anyone, just click on the "Create Map" red button to create a map with routes, shapes, places, and multimedia content - no special skills are required!
Your smartphone already creates geotagged photos. Uploading these to a photo album on Picasa Web, and then viewing with Map Explorer results in an interactive map showing a geographic history of your photos.
In this way, there are excellent websites that enable unskilled people to create mobile app content which is also very easy to keep updated with fresh content.
Automated Production - This Project!!
Creating self-published mobile apps will require a website that allows people to enter information about their location-based content. This information includes a reference to the KML file they produced, plus customizations such as splash screen, icon, about page, and license agreement.
Is This For Android, What About iPhones ??
Anyone that creates a custom mobile app using Mapcosm will publish to both Google Android and Apple iPhone devices.
This Project – What Needs To Be Done
Here are some of the activities that will need to get done to make self-published mobile apps a reality:
App Designer. This is an application that collects design information from the self-publishers. This will include a link to the map (KML file), app title, icon, splash screen, about page, and some other customizations.
Artwork. Default customizable artwork should be available since many people won't have the need or inclination to create their own.
App Packager. This is a service that combines the user's design and map with Map Explorer and generates the custom apps.
Validation. A self-publisher needs to be able to review and make changes to their new app prior to submitting the final version and getting ready for distribution.
Push. Once a custom map has been distributed, this service will monitor content changes from the source and send change notifications to all custom mobile apps.
Payment. There will be real costs to operate this service, so it's important to create a charging mechanism to collect fees. In any case, these fees are orders of magnitude less expensive (i.e. hundreds of dollars) than the cost of building a full custom app - which creates the market disruption!
Community. Some kind of community feedback so we can all learn from these experiences and figure out what is working for people and what gets people excited.
Automate, Automate, Automate!! Even though you can run the Freedom Trail mobile app created by Mapocosm and self-published by StevesTravelGuide.com, there was a good bit of manual effort to make that happen - a process which doesn't scale and would be expensive. So, much of the effort to build the App Factory is automating processes so that self-publishers can create their new mobile apps without manual intervention.
How much of this loaded agenda gets realized will depend on the level of pledges. So, many thanks for your support, and your comments are also greatly appreciated!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $40,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on July 29, 2012.
Jun 24, 2012 - Jul 29, 2012
Pledge $10 or more
You'll receive the "map of gratitude" that can be opened with Map Explorer. Backers remain anonymous, but you can see your region's contribution! If you like Map Explorer, you can really contribute, too - we'll send you pre-release versions and ask for your feedback.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $25 or more
Limited Edition of the Map Explorer Pro app to show that the user (you!) has made a special contribution to this application. Plus the map of gratitude and early release participation.Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Pledge $75 or more
Customized Map Explorer Pro app. Splash screen and other elements skinned just the way you like it. Plus you can participate in early releases, and have raised your region to silver level on the map of gratitude!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $225 or more
Your very own full custom app! You create your content in Google Maps or Picasa, and you will receive a full application (Android or iPhone) that you can distribute to anyone you want. Plus early release participation and silver level on the map of gratitude.Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $725 or more
The full commercial package: you can create two different apps in both Android and iPhone. Your apps will be posted to Google Play and iTunes if you do not expect payments, with a full year of app changes and upgrades. And - you participate in early releases and have raised your region to gold level on the map of gratitude!Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $2,250 or more
You are an Agent! An agent is a special partner of Mapcosm that can create full custom apps on behalf of your customers, and even resell them for profit! Your gratitude map region gets promoted to star-level.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $7,250 or more
In addition to custom apps and agent privileges, let's have a discussion about what features are important to make you successful and we'll work our hardest to make that happen!Estimated delivery: Dec 2012