online maps

Who Owns the Map?

ghost town

This is an old, but truly fascinating article from Atlas Obscura we came across in the last couple of weeks. It’s about the historical practice of cartographers putting “trap streets” into their maps as a sort of cartographic watermark. The idea is that the mapmaker would include in their maps a fake street in order to catch fakes of their maps, since any map with such an obscure mistake would have to be copied. This would be fascinating all by itself, but the practice has found its way into the digital age since many of the maps digital mapmakers like Google Maps/Earth use to make their digital maps are full of these trap streets. One of the coolest examples is probably that of the “phantom town of Argleton, England, which appeared on Google Maps as recently as 2009.”

“Online listings showed the town as having jobs, real estate, weather forecasts, and even a single scene. But no one had ever set foot there, because it doesn’t exist. Google has since removed the town from their listings, and though many speculate that it was a town-wide version of a trap street, the company wouldn’t reveal if its inclusion was a deliberate attempt to catch thieves.”

One of the more interesting questions that arises out of this phenomenon is that in the digital age ownership of the map isn’t contested so much as the programming behind the representation of the data on the map. The Google Maps API is so useful and cheap that it’s practically open source at this point, and if you prefer to truly be free then there are plenty of other options for open sourced mapping technology. Where, even 20 years ago, the actual depiction of the map was more akin to a work of art and was thus subject to copyright, making goofy things like trap streets necessary. But in the age of satellite imagery and down-to-the-foot cartographic accuracy, the common view is that the map is the map is the map. The differentiator is what goes on the map, how it gets there, and who has the ability to change the information. At this point, society has largely accepted that there is but one map and it is public property…it’s the people and the mounds of data they create that's up for grabs.

The Best Mobile App for Events Yet

new walkabout

All over the news you've probably heard that mobile app purchases have flat-lined in the the US. For event organizers and planners just now starting to look into designing their own app this news can be distressing. You know you need to bring your event into the digital age, and find a way to better understand your attendees, but with mobile app usage declining, how can you get your attendees engaged?

The key is to give your attendees what they want most in an easily-accessible format, and recent advancements in mobile technology make that possible.

Walkabout allows you to engage your attendees with a customizable web-based mobile app that provides them with a geo-located map, a schedule of events, links to sponsors and additional information, and social sharing. It's a mobile app without the headache and cost of custom designing one, or fussing with the App store of Google Play.

In minutes you could have your very own mobile app. It's that simple! Engage your audience and bring your event into the digital age, all with one beautiful, easy-to-use mobile application.

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The Long Tail

the long tail

One of the biggest problems for festivals and events is determining Return on Investment (ROI). Sponsors and advertisers have a difficult time determining the monetary value of participating in a given event, and vendors have very little to go on other than sales at the event (which are usually low). Consequently, event organizers have to spend a great deal of their time trying to attract vendors, sponsors, and advertisers using imprecise metrics like event size, length, and theme.

Reaching potential customers before, during and after an event is one of the reasons we built Walkabout. By giving attendees and potential customers a central portal to find vendors and sponsors, Walkabout gives events a "long tail," an impact that extends well beyond the relatively limited start and end time of the event.

Our CEO Tres Crow wrote about the "long tail" in a white paper, which you can download here. Be sure to join our mailing list to get more tips and information about event organizing and event planning.


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The Only Event App You Need

It's About Time2

We've all been there. You're at an amusement park, a trade show, or a street festival, juggling between your smart phone and a paper map or brochure, trying to figure out where you are, where you want to go, and when things start. Not only is the paper map often unhelpful in guiding you, but it's rarely up-to-date  or it comes with yet another piece of paper with information about the day's events.

Walkabout eliminates the clutter with one remarkably simple idea: combining a schedule and a geo-located map into one elegant mobile app. Now visitors can get everything they need to know right there in their phone, and because the Walkabout map is created and managed by the event organizers, visitors can rest assured knowing that everything will always be up-to-date and correct.

By combining the two things event organizers and their visitors need most, Walkabout is the next great leap in event organizing. Sign up for our mailing list to be one of the first people to use the brand new Walkabout 1.0, set for release in early 2015.

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3 Steps to an Organized Event


If you're planning a trade show, conference, street festival, or any other event that has a bunch of moving parts then you know a huge chunk of the planning process is simply finding and on-boarding the vendors and sponsors, and creating schedules and maps.

Walkabout makes this planning process super simple by giving you a tool to help on-board vendors and sponsors, and manage the schedule and map for your event. To highlight how easy it is to organize your event with Walkabout, we've made a helpful infographic with 3 simple steps you can take for a more organized event. You can get the infographic here or by clicking the image below, and be sure to sign up for our email list for more helpful tips, deals, and super secret mystery maps.

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