Map + Search Service

by Ian Rosenwach on 10.18.2013

This is an idea for a map app that is focused on creating an optimized route for people that want to run multiple errands.

The user could input search terms for things they want to get done, and the service finds the best route that accomplishes each of your goals. For example, you want to drop off the dry cleaning, then go to the bakery, and then the grocery store.

The app could look something like the below (click to enlarge).

The output is a route that will complete your tasks. The route is determined by 1) “quality” of the local places (using data from Yelp, FourSquare, etc) and 2) minimizing travel times based on mapping software. The order that the user wants to get things done in is also considered.

(UPDATE, 10/19: a reader informed me that one of these scenarios is a classic example of the Travelling salesman problem. The scenerio is having the user input the preferred order they want to get their errands done.  If that capability was included it would be hard to support more than a few errands, given the computational difficulty)

Google Maps can do this, but it’s not really marketed as a core functionality. On the desktop site, you can enter a search term instead of a place, but in order to add another location to a route you have to choose a place based on the search term. On the mobile app it looks like you can’t even add multiple locations when getting directions.

Is there something like this out there?  It’s true that it could be hard to compete in the mapping space given that there are 2 or 3 large players that dominate the market.  But this could also mean the market is ripe for innovation!

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