I can’t meet up with friends in Dolores Park. It’s one of the most popular parks in San Francisco, in one of the most popular neighborhoods in San Francisco. On weekends, it’s hard to move through the crowd of hundreds of people, let alone find someone in that crowd.
When I get a text from a friend saying “Where are you in the park?” I have no response except something like, “Near the dancing robot.” Our conversation eventually devolves to the point where we’re using hula hoopers and various packs of dogs as geographic landmarks. Luckily, coder/cartographer Bobby Sudekum (pictured right) made an app to solve this problem.
Bobby’s app, MeatText allows you to text, tweet or email your location via a URL that opens in your friend’s native mapping client. The app determines your exact latitude and longitude coordinates so you can share where you actually are, as opposed to relying on nearby landmarks.
When Bobby needed to find his friend who was lost at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a concert series that brings over 200,000 people to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, he tried using his native mapping client to share his location by dropping a pin. It was four miles off. MeatText was dead on. The pin was footsteps away from where Bobby was, and he met up with his friend easily.
“Essentially, MeatText allows users to communicate, ‘I’m sitting under this tree in the Dolores Park’ rather than ‘I’m in the middle of Dolores Park,’” Bobby says.
Bobby first started creating geo-centric apps while studying Geography at the University of Vermont. Since graduating in 2011, he has made map based apps like MapGrams, which allows you to search any location and see what Instagram photos were taken there recently. Before he starts Dev Boot Camp in January, Bobby plans on finishing up building an Android version of MeatText, and working on creating a way to share your MeatText location through social media apps.