Poison Maps - a Unique New Maps App

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by cfc, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. cfc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    #1
    I have just released several freemium versions of my Poison Maps app and, as a forum member, thought I'd post some information about the app here. It is a maps application with an emphasis on Points of Interest (hence "POIs on Maps"). It has several advantages over the competitors such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare etc:

    1) Shows signs to nearby POIs that are not on the visible map (I think this is unique);
    2) Displays POIs using thousands of icons, including hundreds of brands;
    3) Shows the name of the POI on the map, next to the icon, if there is room;
    4) Stores millions of POIs on the device, making the app faster and most of the functionality work even when offline.
    5) Has backward / forward buttons like on a browser to help retrace what you have looked at;
    6) Has a "Compass Mode" for just displaying large signs to POIs, which can be easier to read than a full map when cycling or hiking (and it also works offline);
    7) Includes a unique patent-pending gesture for zooming / panning that only requires one touch of one finger (which will be especially useful when iWatches appear);

    Map_London_Tourism.png Compass_Kabul_Emergencies.png NewYorkFood4.jpg

    The obvious main use of the app is to help you find POIs of any type (not just those that can be reviewed), but it is very versatile and can be used for all sorts of things, including:

    1) Simple sign-based navigation even when offline, anywhere in the world;
    2) Use compass mode to identify what hills or towns you can see at a viewpoint.
    3) Follow an arrow back to where you parked your car;
    4) See the distribution of POIs across an area - if you zoom out then it shows icons representing the most common brands, cuisines, sports, religions etc.

    Map_Dubai_Hotels.png SouthEuropeBanksiPad.png

    If you want to give it a try then there are 10 regional freemium versions. These contain a large subset of the POIs, including public transport, towns, tourist attractions, hills, toilets, emergency services, health services, accommodation, banks, and more. If you like the app then please buy the in-app purchase, which contains the full set of POIs, and also unlocks loads of extra features such as online-searching, customisable favourites, create your own POIs, background POIs etc. Alternatively you can buy the global Poison Maps application, which contains over 15 million POIs covering the whole world.

    Here are links to the North American and UK & Ireland versions:

    North American Version: http://appstore.com/poisonmapsnorthamerica (in-app purchase is $0.99)
    UK & Ireland Version: http://appstore.com/poisonmapsukandireland (in-app purchase is 69p)
    Global version: http://appstore.com/poisonmaps ($1.99 in US, £1.49 in UK etc)

    The full set of versions can be found here: http://appstore.com/ccsltd

    This website also describes all the features and shows loads of screenshots: www.poison-maps.com.

    If you do try it out then please compare it to the POI functionality in Apple Maps, Google Maps, and the specific Point of Interest apps such as Yelp and Foursquare, as these are the benchmarks that I have aimed for. They offer some features not available in Poison Maps but hopefully the reverse is also true and, if the app takes off, then I will be able to add more functionality.

    All feedback is welcome - I want to make the app as good as possible so if you think it falls short in any way then please tell me. The only exception is the quality of the data, because if you see something missing or wrong then the best thing to do is to edit it yourself. The POIs come from OpenStreetMap, which is known as the 'Wikipedia of Maps' because it is created by volunteers (over a million of them). In most places the data is fantastic but in some areas it can be a bit sparse. The major features are usually present, but the smaller businesses may not be. However this is the case for most POI apps, and I think that OpenStreetMap has some of the best POI data out there and it is getting better all the time.

    Apologies for the long post. If you made it this far then thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think.
     
  2. AbeFrohman macrumors 6502

    AbeFrohman

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    #2
    Interesting app concept...

    I initially clicked on the thread to see why there's a poison map... After looking, it's "POIs on map"

    You may want to make sure to capitalize POI when referring to the app so it's clearer...
     
  3. cfc thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    #3
    You're right that it is a slightly confusing name, but the upside is that it is memorable. I did play with a few variations such as POIson Maps and POIs on Maps but the first looked a bit odd and the second a bit boring.

    In the end I went for Poison Maps because I figured it would help people remember it if someone showed them the app and they liked it and wanted to find it later on the AppStore. So I hope that it will help spread the word, but I admit that it probably does put people off in the first place. I am quickly realising that marketing isn't my thing!

    Thanks for calling the concept interesting. I listed the unique aspects of the app before, but it also has most of the standard features that you would expect as well, such as a list mode; name searching (which is almost instant due to being offline); in-app directions; etc. There are also a few less common features, such as the ability to enhance the map with "background" POIs appearing as if they were part of the underlying map.

    POI_Route_London_Apple.png BackgroundPOIs_London_On.png

    But signs are admittedly the most obvious unique selling point (along with the new gesture, and maybe showing icons and names on the map). There are lots of advantages to showing these signs, some of which aren't immediately obvious:

    1) You don't miss seeing POIs that are off the edge of the screen;
    2) You can easily pan to the POIs by double clicking the sign;
    3) It adds context, giving you a better idea of where you are viewing, which is handy on a small screen. This is particularly true when showing towns, but the nearest town can be shown on any signs so it also works for other POIs.
    4) Switching between POI types is very easy because you do not need to reposition the maps. On other apps you need to select a new type and the map resizes to arbitrarily show a certain number of POIs. On Poison Maps you just tap an icon at the bottom and the map stays the same but the points and signs vary, which is much less intrusive and confusing.

    For example when looking for somewhere to go you can switch between different types of tourist attraction and see a completely new set of signs at the touch of a button. This allows you to scan through many POIs much more quickly and easily than in other POI apps.

    There are also a few things about the signs that I forgot to mention before:

    1) You can "shuffle" them by shaking the device to get a different set of signs (the next nearest POIs);
    2) You can make signs to nearer POIs appear larger and fade signs to further POIs;
    3) For POIs with size (such as towns or hills) you see a slider at the bottom that allows you to vary between showing nearby villages/ hills or showing faraway cities / mountains;
    4) You can change the size, transparency, maximum distance and number of signs shown (the app has loads of configuration options to play with).
    5) You can cycle through different sign visibility by tapping the sign button on the toolbar: from showing no signs through to showing large signs that have extra details such as the nearest town, or the height for mountains;

    SignsButton_Germany_Banks_Small.png SIgnsButton_Germany_Banks_Medium.png SignsButton_Germany_Banks_Large.png

    Signs also work well in combination with the app's unique patent-pending "context-panning" gesture in that they both help give you context about where you are (the gesture allows fast zooming out and back in again) and both allow rapid navigation (the gesture allows rapid one-touch panning).

    They are also complementary in that the larger the screen the more effective signs are because there is more room for them (so a larger iPhone will help) and the smaller the screen the more effective the gesture is because there may not be room for two-fingered pinching (for example on an iWatch).

    Here's a link to a 2 minute video that demonstrates how the signs and gesture work together and how the back and forward buttons are useful with both of them (when you can pan thousands of miles very quickly then it's handy to be able to go back). Note that the video is of an old version - the UI looks a lot better now!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6JjCwarJ6g

    Note that both on the video and in the screenshots I use large signs so that they are readable with the low resolution. On a real device the signs are not so intrusive because they can be much smaller but still readable (especially on a retina screen).
     
  4. cfc thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    #4
    New version with Route Maps and much more.

    It's been a very busy year since the previous version of Poison Maps and we have now released version 3.0. This has loads of new features, including a much improved user interface; radar and scanner modes; and the addition of 3 million miles of routes, such as metro maps, bus routes, cycle routes, hiking trails, ski pistes, MTB trails and much more.

    NewYorkRail47.png LondonBusesRoute140.png CypressMountainSkiing47.png

    The initial screen now shows all the POIs and the color scheme has been enhanced such that different categories are shown in different colors, allowing you to quickly identify the types of each area. In the screenshot below the main road on the right has mostly pink POIs, so is a shopping street, whilst the road on the left has mostly brown POIs, and therefore has more restaurants and bars.

    TottenhamCourtRoad480p.png

    The addition of radar and scanner modes allows you to see what is ahead of you in a particular direction. Scanner mode centres your position at the bottom of the screen to show as much as possible in the direction that you are pointing.

    YosemiteHiking47.png

    There is a new two minute video of the app in action on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWW7T5Kh8ME

    This video is intentionally fast moving in order to show just how quickly you can find exactly what you want. Even so it only covers the basic functionality of the app and doesn't show most of the unique features. If you want to know more then please check out the newly updated website:

    www.poison-maps.com

    Poison Maps is intended as a general purpose app like Apple Maps and Google Maps, but provides very different functionality that is more useful in some situations. It is not intended to replace those apps, or to reproduce their functionality, but instead to complement them by providing unique abilities, especially when looking for POIs or when offline.

    Please try out the free version for your region.
     

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