Holiday Challenge!

Here at Mapkin we're focused on making navigation safer, easier, and more enjoyable. That's only possible thanks to all the local tips that you have shared with us over the past few months. With the holiday season upon us, what better time to come together to help others? 

This week we're excited to announce the first ever Voice Tip + Quick Tip Challenge. It will be a friendly challenge that includes special prizes for those who share the most tips. Find out more below.

The Challenge

Similar to the Tip Jar challenges in the past, the goal will be to improve the directions in and around your city. However, this week we'll focus exclusively on sharing tips using the Mapkin app. All tips shared using Voice Notes or the new Quick Tips will be counted.

How long does it last?
The challenge starts today and ends on Wednesday (12/23) morning at 8am EST.

How do I join?
Simply use Mapkin to drive and share tips as you normally would. All Voice Tips and Quick Tips shared between 12/16 and 12/23 will be counted.

The Prizes

1. A $50 gas gift card for the person who shares the most tips to help other drivers.

2. A $25 Amazon gift card for the person who shares the second most tips to help other drivers.

3. Mapkin Swag (apparel and accessories) for the person who shares the third most tips to help other drivers.

Tips on Tips

A quick refresher on the types of tips that help the most:

Local Hints: Share a tip about a road, intersection, or turn that only a local would know. Help drivers navigate easier by sharing tips about turns that are easy to miss or roads that get curvy up ahead.

Landmarks: Help drivers know when to turn by sharing tips about visible landmarks on street corners. Gas stations, churches, and well known chain businesses are a few of the great landmarks to be on the lookout for.

Lane Guidance: Help other drivers be prepared by sharing tips on the best lane to use when making turns along your route.

Traffic Lights & Stop Signs: Both of these are super helpful in providing detailed directions. Let us know if we miss one at a turn.

Introducing: Quick Tips!

And just like that...it's December!

Late last night we pushed a big update to the Mapkin app (update here). The latest version includes important under-the-hood improvements and a totally new and easier way to improve the directions in your neighborhood!

What's new?

Starting today, you can easily share tips and improve directions with the touch of a button! Mapkin will now display an icon directly on the map at every turn along your route. Simply tap that button to easily add a light, stop sign, landmark, or local tip!


Just like voice notes, each tip will be reviewed and quickly added to the Mapkin. The next time you or anyone else make that same turn you will hear a new enhanced direction that mentions your tip! 

Check it out!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday season is upon us! 

This year we're thankful for each and every one of you! Each tip that you share with Mapkin is helping drivers across the country experience safer, easier, more enjoyable drives. We're on a journey to change the way people navigate and it wouldn't be possible without you.

On behalf of the Mapkin team and fellow Mapkin drivers, Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you get the bigger piece :)

We hope you get the bigger piece :)

Mapkin Guide Spotlight: Matt Richards

Name: Matt Richards

Location: Stowe, Ohio

Member Since: The beginning!

Number of Tips: 600+

Why do you enjoy submitting tips to Mapkin: Mapkin's way of giving directions is unlike anything I've heard from other apps, and I've tried almost all of them.  To hear, "All right, your turn is 1/2 mile ahead, coming up at the next stoplight" is incredibly helpful.  As I approach the light, I hear, "Turn right, just after the gas station" allows me to focus on driving and not being forced to look at the map.

Then, the feedback portion is huge.  There is nothing else out there that gives drivers an easy way to either add tips or make corrections.  If I see something that might help someone following me to make a turn, whether it is a friend or complete stranger, Mapkin provides the ability to input this information.  There are no other apps that seem to care about making the driving experience as accurate AND helpful than Mapkin.

What's your favorite tip that you've shared: The favorite tip came on the heels of a near tragic accident in a neighboring town.  There is a tricky turn onto an on-ramp that drivers must first cross a set of railroad tracks before completing the right turn.  A driver at night accidentally turned right ONTO the railroad tracks, got stuck, and had to bail out of his car before a train came.  I added the tip, with some behind-the-scenes help, that said, "Turn right onto Route 8, after driving over the railroad tracks."

While it is certainly fun to add tips about businesses on corners, lane guidance, stop lights, neighborhood signs, rough railroad tracks, and dangerous turns, knowing that someone new to that area could benefit from hearing that tip and not get stuck in front of a train is powerful.

Fun fact about Matt: I am stoked for this season of "The Voice." My soon-to-be three-year-old son loves watching the show and signing along.  We travel in the car singing songs as well as dance in the kitchen.  He was really disappointed that Josh didn't win last season!

Mapkin Tip Jar Challenge #2

Today, we're excited to announce a brand new Mapkin Tip Jar challenge. The last Tip Jar challenge for traffic lights was a huge success. People from all over the country shared hundreds of tips that resulted in thousands of new enhanced directions. This week we're turning our focus to gas stations!

The person who contributes the most gas station tips will receive a Mapkin t-shirt and a special surprise!

How to Join!

Participating in the Mapkin Tip Jar challenge is easy.

Simply log in to the Mapkin Tip Jar web tool using the same email and password you used for the app and start adding gas station locations in your area! You can also add stations from other towns, cities, and states :)

*Pro Tip: Use satellite view to easily zoom in and verify each stations location.
 

Why Gas Stations?

Gas Stations are extremely helpful visual landmarks that are often located on street corners and intersections. By knowing where gas stations are located, Mapkin is able to provide helpful directions like "After the Shell gas station, turn right onto Main Street".

Special Prize!

The Mapkin Guide that submits the most new gas station tips by the end of the day on Tuesday (Nov 17th) will win a Mapkin t-shirt and a special surprise!

Sneak Peek!

Today we're pulling back the curtain to reveal complete details on all of the new features that will be included in the next app update (stay tuned...it's coming soon)!

Points & Ranks!

With the new update, you will earn points every time you go for a drive and share tips. As you accumulate points, you will climb the ranks of the Mapkin Guide Community!

Explore Profiles!

In addition to an updated profile page, you can now explore other Mapkin Guides profiles! Check out the types of tips other people are sharing and see where you stack up for points!

New Voice Tips!

We're redesigning the voice tip gesture to make it easier to confirm or cancel a voice note. Simply press & hold to record, then swipe up to send your voice tip. Or, swipe down after recording to cancel your voice tip.

Introducing: the Mapkin Community Forum

This week we're excited to announce a brand new Mapkin resource built just for you: The Mapkin Community Forum

The new Mapkin Community Forum is a great place to:

  • ask questions and find answers
  • help other Mapkin users
  • share your thoughts and suggestions with the Mapkin team 

Sign up now to join the Forum and make sure to read the 'Getting Started' topic to familiarize yourself with how the forum works!

Update: Tip Jar Challenge Winner!

A quick update on the Tip Jar Challenge:

A massive thank you to all those who participated in Mapkin's first ever Tip Jar Challenge! With your help, Mapkin now has over 500 new traffic lights & local tips that will result in well over 2,000 new enhanced prompts.

A huge thank you and congratulations to the Tip Jar Challenge winner Noah from Georgia. Noah entered a whopping 84 traffic lights which will dramatically improve the directions in and around his city!

Stay tuned for the next challenge and giveaway :)

Mapkin Tip Jar Challenge #1

Last week we introduced the Mapkin Tip Jar and we were blown away by the amazing tips we received from all over the country (shout out to Colleen in Hawaii who added over 80 tips!). This week we're excited to announce the first ever Mapkin Tip Jar Challenge!

Are you up for a friendly competition that will make driving in your neighborhood safer and easier for everyone? Over the next week, we're rallying the Mapkin community to add new traffic lights to the Mapkin Tip Jar. With your help, Mapkin will provide hundreds (or thousands) of new directions that will greatly improve the driving experience. 

The person who contributes the most new traffic lights will receive a Mapkin T-shirt (it's silky smooth)!

How to Join!

Participating in the Mapkin Tip Jar challenge is easy! 

Simply log in to the new Mapkin Tip Jar web tool using the same email and password you used for the app & start adding traffic lights in your area!

*Pro Tip: Use satellite view to easily zoom in and verify traffic light locations.

Why Traffic Lights?

Traffic lights are super helpful visual cues that allow Mapkin to provide directions like "At the next light, turn right onto Main Street". Although these types of directions appear simple and generic, they are the most helpful and popular amongst the Mapkin community of drivers.

Special Prize!

The Mapkin Guide that submits the most new traffic lights by the end of the day Tuesday (Oct 27th) will win a Mapkin T-shirt!

Introducing: Mapkin Tip Jar!

Over the past few weeks we've received a ton of amazing feedback about driving and sharing tips with Mapkin. One of the most frequently asked questions was "Is there a way I can add tips around my city without having to drive?".

This week we're excited to reveal a brand new resource we built just for you (our passionate group of contributors).

Introducing the Mapkin Tip Jar.

The Tip Jar is a web based tool that allows you to share tips directly from a computer without having to drive. Using the Tip Jar, you can now quickly share tips the that make driving in your neighborhood safer and easier for everyone (from the comfort of your couch)!

Here's a quick video of how it works:

If you’re enjoying Mapkin and looking for an way to quickly improve the directions in your area check it out! A great place to start is by adding tips on the location of traffic lights in your town or city. It doesn’t take long and makes the instructions a lot easier to follow. Find out more in the video above!

As always, thanks for all your support and please reach out directly (info@mapkin.co) if you have any questions or issues!

How It Works: Sharing a Tip

What is a Tip?

If you have ever used GPS before, chances are you've heard a direction along a route that was either vague, difficult to understand, or flat out wrong. We have too!

With Mapkin, we've built tools directly into the app that allow you to easily share information (or "tips") on how to enhance & improve those directions.

How to Share a Tip

We understand people user their phones in different ways when navigating. Some prefer to hold the phone in their hand while other's use a mount or throw it in their trusty cupholder. That's why Mapkin features a number of different ways for drivers to share a tip including Voice tips, Quick Tips, Text Tips, and the Tip Jar.

- Voice Tips -

Voice tips allow drivers to share local information in real time during a drive. On a drive and hear a prompt that should have mentioned a traffic light or a helpful landmark? Pass an area where Mapkin should have played a prompt but didn't? Share a voice tip! During your drive, simply press and hold on the screen to begin recording. After you finish speaking your tip, simply swipe up to send your tip to the Mapkin team.

Each time you share a tip, Mapkin receives the audio recording of your tip along with the location of where you were when you shared it. This allows us to identify the specific road, turn, and/or landmark your were referring to in order to create a new direction.

Above is an example of what we see when viewing a voice tip. The blue line shows the route, the green line shows where the original Mapkin prompt played, the purple line shows where the voice tip was shared, and the gray box on the corner shows where the landmark (McDonald's) is.

Above is an example of what we see when viewing a voice tip. The blue line shows the route, the green line shows where the original Mapkin prompt played, the purple line shows where the voice tip was shared, and the gray box on the corner shows where the landmark (McDonald's) is.

A common voice tip might sound something like "There's a set of lights at this turn" or "That turn is right after the McDonald's on the corner".

Each morning, we listen to each individual tip our drivers share in order to create new improved directions that help everyone. This process involves examining each individual route, reviewing the original Mapkin prompt that played, listening to the individual voice tip that was shared, locating which turn or landmark the tip is referencing, and then using our tools to insert the new local data to create a new enhanced direction. This thorough review & verification process ensures the accuracy of Mapkin directions. It's also why there can be a slight delay from the time a tip is shared to when it becomes an actual direction and goes live in the app.

- Quick Tips - 

Quick Tips allows you to easily share tips and improve directions with the touch of a button! Mapkin will display an icon directly on the map at every turn along your route. Simply tap the green teardrop icon and select the appropriate tip to easily add a light, stop sign, landmark, or local tip!

- Text Tips - 

Not interested in sharing voice tips while you drive? That's okay! After you finish a drive, simply tap the "Give feedback about my drive" to display a list of all the prompts that played along your route. Simply tap on any of the prompts you wish to leave a comment on and type your tip.

Was there a generic "Turn right onto Main Street" prompt that should have mentioned the Starbucks on the corner? Simply tap that specific prompt and type "This turn is right after the Starbucks on the corner". We'll use your tip to update that existing prompt to include the new helpful landmark! The next time you or anyone else take that turn you will hear "After the Starbucks, turn right onto Main Street" thanks to your tip!

- Tip Jar - 

The Tip Jar is a web based tool that allows you to share tips directly from a computer without having to drive. Using the Tip Jar, you can now quickly share tips the that make driving in your neighborhood safer and easier for everyone (from the comfort of your couch)! Check it out:

What Types of Tips to Share

We realize there are multiple ways to improve directions. We've built a system that allows us to control many of the common types of tips that make driving easier and safer. However, there are also some types of tips that we don't currently support.

The best way to think about tips is like you're leaving a casual note to the Mapkin team about 1) how to improve an existing prompt you heard or 2) adding a new prompt that should play in a spot where Mapkin does not currently have one.

Tips Mapkin currently supports:

Landmarks: Mapkin can insert helpful landmarks into prompts that provide drivers with more context on when to make a specific turn. We've found that gas stations, churches and popular stores & restaurants on corners (McDonald's, Starbucks, etc) are helpful visual cues that alert drivers when to turn. Spot a helpful landmark on a corner that we should mention in a prompt? Share a tip!

Here's an example of a great landmark. When heading North on Main Street, the left turn is directly after the white church. This voice tip said "The left turn is just after the big white church."

Here's an example of a great landmark. When heading North on Main Street, the left turn is directly after the white church. This voice tip said "The left turn is just after the big white church."

Traffic Lights: Similar to landmarks, traffic lights are really great turn indicators. Everyone likes to know that they should turn right or left at the light. Make a turn at a set of lights that Mapkin didn't mention? Share a tip!

This is an example of a set of traffic lights serving as a great indicator of when to turn. The driver in the black Jeep could leave a voice tip that says "The left turn onto Dale Street is at the set of lights".

This is an example of a set of traffic lights serving as a great indicator of when to turn. The driver in the black Jeep could leave a voice tip that says "The left turn onto Dale Street is at the set of lights".

Local Hints: Is a turn easy to miss? Is the street you're driving on popular for walkers and cyclists? Does the road get really curvy ahead? Share a local tip that Mapkin can use to create a totally new prompt that will help other drivers navigate safer and easier!

Here's an example of an area where a driver left a local tip about cyclists. The bike path on the right is a bit hidden and bikers tend to pop out without warning. This voice tip said "Be on the lookout for bikers crossing from the bike path on your right."

Here's an example of an area where a driver left a local tip about cyclists. The bike path on the right is a bit hidden and bikers tend to pop out without warning. This voice tip said "Be on the lookout for bikers crossing from the bike path on your right."

Lane Guidance: Encounter a turn that required you to move into a certain lane ahead of time? Help other drivers be prepared by sharing a tip about which lanes are the best to use along your route!

Here is a great example of an intersection with both a set of lights and lane guidance. A voice tip here said "This is a set of lights with 3 lanes. You need to be in the left lane to turn left." 

Here is a great example of an intersection with both a set of lights and lane guidance. A voice tip here said "This is a set of lights with 3 lanes. You need to be in the left lane to turn left." 

Tricky Intersections: Encounter a really complicated intersection that requires detailed instructions to navigate? Share a local tip that will help other's make it through those tricky areas with ease!

This is a tricky intersection where a driver must take a right then a quick left. A voice tip here said "This is tricky. You want to use the right lane to turn right by the Shell but then take an immediate left before the Walgreens."

This is a tricky intersection where a driver must take a right then a quick left. A voice tip here said "This is tricky. You want to use the right lane to turn right by the Shell but then take an immediate left before the Walgreens."

Bugs: Oops. Did we goof? Sorry! Embrace your inner proofreader and let us know if you hear a poor instruction that should be fixed.

Mapkin does not currently support the following types of tips:

Alternate Routes: We realize there are many different ways to get to a destination and often times there shortcuts along the way. At the moment, we don't currently support these types of tips.

Temporary Road Closures: At times roads may close, shut down for repairs or construction, or have temporary detours due to special events. Because of their impermanent nature, Mapkin does not currently support these types of tips.

The Start of a Journey

On September 16th, Mapkin was introduced to the world.
This is a behind the scenes look at how the launch day unfolded.

9/15/15


- 10:31pm Marc Regan (Mapkin's CEO and cofounder) releases Mapkin on the App Store.

- 10:31-10:58pm The entire Mapkin team manically searches and refreshes the App Store waiting for Mapkin to appear.

  Hey Jake...I think you've got some apps that need to be updated ;)

 

Hey Jake...I think you've got some apps that need to be updated ;)

- 10:59pm Mapkin goes live!

- 11:00pm-1:00am The Mapkin team spends the next few hours testing & making sure the app is working properly.

9/16/15

- 7:01am Mapkin is introduced to the Twitterverse.

- 7:15am Jeff Needles (from Meerkat) hunts Mapkin on on Product Hunt (shoutout to Mike Coutermarsh + The entire PH Team).

- 10:00am Cofounders Marc and Jake join the PH discussion to share the Mapkin story and answer questions from the passionate community.

- 11:00am Mapkin sends out a launch email to it's early sign up list and beta users.

- 1:00pm Mapkin emails their amazing group of investors informing them of Mapkin's launch and how they can help.

THEN

- 6:26pm Mapkin receives a tweet from Luke Bussey (from YesWare) that Mapkin has been featured on the App Store homepage under Best New Apps.

- 6:27pm The news is quickly announced to the team.

-6:27pm Assuming it's a joke, Marc angrily screams out "Dude. Are you serious? Don't joke about that."

-6:28pm After taking a minute to verify...it turns out it wasn't a joke...

- 6:29pm onward: The Mapkin team buckles down for a busy night of tweeting, emailing, and monitoring. 

THANK YOU!

We could not have done this without the amazing support from our families, friends, beta testers, early adopters, & investors.

AND A SPECIAL THANKS TO: 

John Hetherington, Allana Taranto, Meg Belanger, Bret McVey, Matthew Richards, David Garlikov, Mike Coutermarsh, Ryan Hoover, the Product Hunt Team, Jeff Needles, & Luke Bessey. 

Mapkin Guides: Weekly Leaderboard

1. John, Washington (302)

2. Matt, Ohio (125)

3. Kevin, California (31)

4. Arnez, Pennsylvania (28)

5. Noah, Georgia (20)

6. Hassan, Ohio (18)

7. Matt, Kentucky (18)

8. Chris, Indiana (16) 

9. Werther, California (14)

10. Michael, Illinois (12)

11. Mojo, California (11)

12. Kai, New Jersey (10)

13. Rick, Texas (10)

14. George, New York (10)

15. Brendan, Wisconsin (10)

16. Molly, Illinois (9)

17. Tushar, Texas (8)

18. T Diggity T, Arizona (8)

19. Josh, Maine (8)

20. Mark, New York (8)

Tips of the Week


"Just before this roundabout there's a narrow bridge. Watch for large trucks which may be taking part of your lane while crossing."
-- John, Washington

"This road has a walkway and bike trail so be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing the road."
-- Arnez, Pennsylvania

"You go straight through the intersection onto Glover. The intersection is angled with a lane for going straight and a separate lane for turning right."
-- Tom,  Connecticut

Special Thanks!


A special thanks to:
BenAllanTrevorNoahKevin, & Chris
for taking the time to speak with us on the phone and share their thoughts!

Launching Soon

In a few weeks, we’re launching Mapkin: the first GPS app that crowdsources tips from drivers to provide better voice guidance for everyone.

How is it different than the other guys?

  • Enhanced voice guidance that mentions visual landmarks and local tips

  • An active community of drivers who constantly submit tips and improve the directions for everyone

  • A friendly personality that calls you by name (and can even tell a joke or two)

Here’s a quick video of Mapkin navigating in Boston: