Creating A Living Map Of Our Daily Existence [PSFK SEATTLE]

Creating A Living Map Of Our Daily Existence [PSFK SEATTLE]

quadstreaker is a location-based iOS app that creates a colorful, easy to follow visual history of a user’s movement over time.

  • 5 may 2013

Building up to our PSFK SEATTLE event on May 10th, we’re interviewing the creators and thought leaders who will be sharing their latest ideas with us. Scott Kendall is the creator of quadstreaker, a location-based iOS app that creates a colorful, easy to follow visual history of a user’s movement over time. The app divides the world into ‘Quads’ – small square units that fill in with colors as users explore new areas – encouraging users to get out of their comfort zones and traverse their unfamiliar surroundings.

How did you come up with the idea for quadstreaker?

quadstreaker grew out of a simple idea I wanted to see ever since I was a kid: a huge, comprehensive map of your lifetime exploration. I wanted a visually stunning map that would automatically grow in richness as I explored the world… and spur me to explore even more. For years I kept being pulled back to the idea but always the technology wasn’t there. In Oct 2011 that all changed when Apple released iOS5 with some key improvements to the iPhone’s location technology that finally made it possible to create this kind of comprehensive life map effortlessly in the background. I’ve been cranking on quadstreaker since then!

Given the abundance of geo-location apps on the market, what separates quadstreaker from other location tracking apps?

The biggest differentiator is the psychology behind it. quadstreaker doubles-down on giving you a sense of progress and a sense of completion as you move around, not on navigation, people discovery, or providing recommendations like the many location apps focused on those things. It breaks exploration into achievable goals that can start in your neighborhood and expand across the globe. The big enabler of this is the Quad — a square area that colors in on your map as you move around. It’s a simple, universal unit that quantifies your progress as you explore anywhere in the world. Seeing a new Quad color in on your map feels like you’re checking it off a list — and gives you a strong sense of completion.


Forced to put quadstreaker in a category in the App Store, I picked Travel. But this isn’t quite right since what we normally think of as travel is probably less than 5% of most people’s yearly movement… and quadstreaker aims to collect the full 100%. Your daily commute, your trip to the grocery store, all the other little trips around where you live: taken together they’re a big part of your life’s exploration that’s largely slipping through the cracks. quadstreaker is a different animal than other travel apps because it instills the spirit of exploration into the 95% of your life outside of vacations.

Ideally, what do you want people to get out of their time using quadstreaker?

If you use quadstreaker for a while, you’ll start to build up this amazing visualization of where you’ve been. You’ll also collect insightful stats about your explorations. And you’ll be able to see all of this for your friends too. The longer you use quadstreaker, the more these assets will grow in meaning and importance. They’ll help answer interesting questions like: how much of my city have I explored? when did I last go somewhere? which of my friends have been here too? where haven’t I been?

But more important than the endgame is the journey. Seeing your map color in over time as you explore new places is the little carrot of satisfaction that I want people to get out of quadstreaker every time they go somewhere. quadstreaker aims to turn every day of your life into a rewarding exploration experience, but outside of that if it can get you to go a step further, explore a bit more, and interact more with the real-world, that’s a success.

What has been the best part of the development process? What has been the biggest challenge?

I love maps, and quadstreaker’s DNA is maps. As I once heard, a map is the single thing on a piece of paper that can hold your attention the longest. Now imagine how long a 15th century explorer would have pored over Google Earth. That’s kind of like me, I can spend hours surfing around in it. The world is soooo huge and diverse. Working on quadstreaker has been an amazing opportunity to dig into and pore over maps of places all over the world. Strategizing how best to create a virtual gameboard of exploration out of something as big and complex as Earth has been exhilarating and ongoing challenge.


The biggest challenge we’ve faced so far has been creating a true always-on app experience that’s battery-friendly. Very few people have tried to create always-on apps so far; it’s a really different paradigm. Our first beta testers back in Feb 2012 made it clear that battery is sacred when they uninstalled our app after a few days. So back then we made a decision to start a deep dive into battery optimization that eventually consumed months of effort. We really peeled the onion on this one… we’re doing a lot of proprietary stuff optimized specifically for how people move. Finally we have quadstreaker running all day on a single charge in the vast majority of movement scenarios. Hardest thing we’ve done so far.

How do you see the quadstreaker experience evolving over time?

quadstreaker aims to be the steward of your life’s explorations. Some major enhancements are in development now that help advance toward this vision but at the same time we need to keep improving the basic functionality of the app. One of the major themes we’re focused on is making it a truly social experience, not just a bunch of silos of location data tied together by friend relationships. We see a ton of potential for innovation here.

Thanks Scott! Meet him May 10th at PSFK SEATTLE.

2013-seattle-article banner

Visit PSFK SEATTLE to see who else is speaking and click below to buy tickets.


Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

Arts & Culture Today

Small Urban Pavilions Create A Nature Refuge In East London

These relaxing micro shelters provide a haven amidst chaotic city environments

Travel Today

Travel Laundry Pouch Washes Your Clothes Wherever You Are

The Scrubba Wash Bag helps anyone wash their clothes easily and quickly with just a little water and soap


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Social Media Today

Swipe Up To Register To Vote On Snapchat

The social platform has partnered with TurboVote to help young people easily enroll in less than one minute

Children Today

Battle Card Game Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

An Australian doctor has developed a playful way to inform parents about immunization and entertain kids

Related Expert

Jonas Nwuke

Cognitive Computing

Fitness / Sport Today

Oakley And Intel’s Sunglasses Give You A Built-In Personal Trainer Wherever You Go

The sunglasses/earbuds hybrid tracks your performance and lets you know how well your workouts are going

Experiential Marketing Today

UNICEF’s ‘Time Machine’ Tells Stories With Data

An experiential installation at the UN General Assembly reminds us why every child matters

Design & Architecture Today

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Latin America Today

Colombians Teach Dance To Fund Students’ Education

Chocó to Dance is a platform that shows you how to replicate popular Latin dances to help create scholarships for local students

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Culture Today

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World’s Largest Open-Air Gallery

Tiger Beer and a neighborhood-minded nonprofit celebrate and promote New York's creative spirit by beautifying 100 security gates

Automotive Today

Bike-Share Program Helps Students Save Money And Get To Class On Time

Zipcar and Zagster are creating sponsored programs across 500 U.S. college campuses

Technology Today

How Technology Can Save The World By Saving Time

PSFK attends the Social Good Summit 2016 to see how new tech is changing the world for the better


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Advertising Today

Lancôme’s Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Rosie Batty is the new face of the Love Your Age series, and is using the platform to bring awareness to a prevalent and deadly problem

Travel Today

Marriott’s Gravity Room Installation Gives Travelers A New Perspective

The luxury hotel chain's #MGravityRoom invites visitors to snap and share pictures of its inverted set up

No search results found.