Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 3.09.56 PMKerry Gallivan, originally from Auburn, may change the way people explore national parks by eliminating the heavy travel guide, the unwieldy paper map and the desperate search for cell reception.

From their office in Portland, Maine, Mr. Gallivan, co-founder Shaun Meridith and their six employees run Chimani, a free app that allows users to access standard features in travel guides – suggested points of interest, detailed maps and leave-no-trace guidelines – as well as live, interactive elements including weather, news and ranger event updates. Chimani consists of versions of one app, each version developed for a different national park.

From their office in Portland, Maine, Mr. Gallivan, co-founder Shaun Meridith and their six employees run Chimani, a free app that allows users to access standard features in travel guides – suggested points of interest, detailed maps and leave-no-trace guidelines – as well as live, interactive elements including weather, news and ranger event updates. Chimani consists of versions of one app, each version developed for a different national park.

Although the operation developed the first Chimani app for Acadia National Park, Mr. Gallivan said the third edition of the app, released in fall 2010, fell closest to home – Cape Cod National Seashore. A graduate of St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Mr. Gallivan’s family came from the Worcester area and had a house on the Cape.

Mr. Gallivan said because his family rented the house out, he hardly spent any time on the Cape during the summer. “All of my memories are of going to Cape Cod National Seashore in the winter,” he said, explaining that spending time on the Cape outside of peak tourism season allowed him to become familiar with lesser-known sites on the National Seashore; those are included in the app.

Chimani not only brings users to lesser-known locations, but also transcends the boundaries of previously developed apps. On May 28, Mr. Gallivan represented Chimani, as chief executive officer and co-founder, at the Google I/O conference attended by app developers and spectators eager to learn how new apps will collaborate with Google.

Mr. Gallivan revealed that Chimani will be the first company to use app indexing, which will allow app content to show up in search engine results and link directly to the app, thus increasing exposure for the app.

“We’re a mobile-first company,” Mr. Gallivan said, “and we’re actually creating our own content.” App indexing, therefore, will allow users outside the app to access Chimani’s unique information and become introduced to the app with a click.

Additionally, Mr. Gallivan said, an update to Chimani that should increase its appeal to millennials is on the way. “We released our Android version at the Google conference,” he said, adding, “We’re introducing a kind of game-type experience.”

The update, which will be available both for Apple and Android devices, will allow visitors to national parks to check in when they reach points-of-interest and earn badges. It acts like a virtual passport with an added feature – GPS validation to ensure users reach their intended destination. The GPS function, like all features of Chimani, works without cell reception.

“It’s targeted to a younger demographic,” Mr. Gallivan said, explaining that the badge system should encourage young users to keep exploring the parks.

While most mobile apps distract users from their surrounding world — whether by encouraging them to Tweet, post to Instagram, or update Snapchat stories, rather than appreciate the outdoors —Chimani does the opposite. To Chimani users in national parks, Mr. Gallivan said, “We want you to be all about that experience.”


 

Original Source – telegram.com

By Maia Hibbett
Special to the Telegram & Gazette
Posted Jun. 14, 2015 at 6:00 AM