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Innovators in the News

7/9/12 - Chimani App Offers Info to Get out and Enjoy the Outdoors

Imagine yourself hiking through Acadia National Park, suddenly realizing that you need more information than your hiking map will tell you about where you are. You have your smartphone with you, but no cell service. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to have the information at your fingertips anyway? That is exactly what happened to Kerry Gallivan on a hike in 2009. Kerry decided then and there to create a solution to this problem for hikers in Acadia and across the US National Park system and Chimani was conceived.

Kerry founded Chimani in January 2010 to offer mobile applications (apps) focused on the US National Park System. A Chimani app can be downloaded today for 8 of the top 10 national parks in the US, with plans of expanding the selection soon.  The apps include high resolution maps, information about sunrise/sunset and tidal data, high quality photos, ranger events at the parks, and many other useful items of interest.

The Chimani app is designed to help the user navigate the natural world while also offering insight into what we are seeing and experiencing. While most of this information is available in the form of paper handouts at the park, the Chimani app provides it all on your smartphone, which you are already carrying. It is more convenient, and it also helps to protect the very environment that you are enjoying.   The Chimani information is visually appealing and downloaded directly to your phone so all of the information is accessible anytime, anywhere.  On top of all that, Chimani develops the app specifically for the mobile device, giving it a much more user friendly interface.

Chimani App

"We originally planned to sell the app for $9.99 on the iPhone and Android markets but now offer them for free after finding such a dramatic difference in the number of downloads that occurred.", said Kerry Gallivan, Founder of Chimani. To generate revenue, they offer advertisements on the apps to companies that are local to the specific park of the app you download and outdoor related products both of which might add value to the user’s adventure experience. Plans are in the works to hire a sales staff to help Chimani generate a good revenue stream through the advertising.

"We will also be adding a subscription service that will provide additional features on top of the free app. These features will be targeted to services which are most relevant when the user is physically in a national park such as the ability to download maps for off-line usage", states Kerry Gallivan. These services will be priced at $1.99 for an annual subscription.

Chimani recently received a Seed Grant from Maine Technology Institute to expand the current selection of apps even further, to include outdoor recreation in general, rather than just limiting the experience to national parks. This opens the company up to a much wider audience.

It hasn’t always been a smooth trek taking Chimani from idea to revenue, but Kerry has kept his focused on the summit, and has learned to adapt to the conditions. With this willingness to adapt, while not compromising on the goal of high quality, Chimani seems primed to continue the journey, and bring the wonderful joys and benefits of outdoor recreation to more and more people.

by Shawn Staples, MTI Summer Blackstone Accelerates Growth Intern

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