Adding dynamic location to Meet feature for hitchers/drivers


#1

I see a ton of potential for expanding the Meet feature, specifically for last minute hosting, more spontaneous meetups, finding volunteer opportunities and what I want to discuss in this thread: adding dynamic location to enable killer features like “I am hitchhiking” and “I am driving”.

Basically putting travelers on the map.

Updating the input form
Currently the Meet feature has manual Location setting and Details (“What is this about” and “How long should this be visible”).

I suggest an addition to Details being a dropdown/toggle above the “What is this about” free text field which could initially include:

Meet up
I’m hitchhiking
I’m driving

(or simply “I’m traveling” on a 1st iteration)

If hitchhiking or driving is chosen then rather than setting a manual location it will be set to the users current GPS location which will be updated every ~10 minutes (thereabouts).

“How long should this be visible” should also then be limited to something like 12 hours (after which they can be prompted to re-up another 12 hours if still moving).

Visualizing
Like Meetups currently, their (constantly updating) location can be represented on the map. An additional filter can then be added to the Search page:

Hosts
Meetups
Travelers

How freaking amazing would it be to be looking at a map of all the currently active hitchhikers and hitch-friendly drivers in the world… like flight control!

Travelers dots could be their own color and perhaps have a car or thumb icon depending.

Of course in the free-text (“What is this about”) they could say where they’re going, say they’re willing to meet up, say they’re still looking for a host along the way or at their destination… people will get creative I’m sure and helpful features could be built around the most common behaviors in the future.

Thoughts on improving the feature over time…
Notifications can be huge, matching drivers with hitchhikers, alerting hosts of nearby hitchhikers or just notifying that another hitchhiker/traveler is nearby (go grab a beer!). Some of this may require more input fields (“destination” for example) or some math to determine general direction based on GPS history, but could get very interesting and wildly awesome.

I see a ton of potential and ways to expand this, but a simple first iteration alone would be cool and start to show how people use the feature to link up. It could even be simplified to “I am traveling” at first rather than broken into hitching/driving, users could explain their situation in the free-text and it could become more granular once more people start using the feature (also lets cyclists, walkers, etc join the party).


#2

Great thinking!

Let’s try to tackle some easy ones from these related issues on GitHub.


#3

The idea of having an app for hitchhiking comes now and then… Apart from the fact that this is not HH but a free rideshare which for me makes a big difference, there is one big issue with such an app, drivers willing to pick up hitchhikers and willing to use this app.

From my personal experience, most of my drivers never or seldom picked up HH. Meaning it would certainly be easier to get a ride with your thumb or at a gas station than with the app. Meaning pretty girls, young college guys would barely or not at all use the app. Meaning the app wouldn’t be attractive to most drivers. Meaning there would be very few people willing to use it and perhaps they would get frustrated… And so on…

However I see great potential for the meet up tool to become an amazing spamming tool. I already see posts which for me are spams.

Perhaps before reaching Mars, we should first reach the Moon again. CS has made a decent hosting tool which has several issues. If we could first do something comparable to CS then why not better.

I think we should focus on the core instead of doing everyting and nothing. Especially that TR has very limited ressources.

Hitchhiking is more or less easy depending where. Getting hosted by your driver or any cool buddy you meet on the way much harder especially in Europe, especially in the touristic hotspots. Those spots where most students want to go during summer. The students who decide to HH are certainly representing 90 % of hitchhikers found on european roads. There are also promoting HH since drivers are more happy to pick up a young fellow looking their own kids than an expert traveller/hitchhiker. Then a driver who get used to pick up will generally stop more often. At least that’s how I see it.

It’s why my first post on meta was about reaching out more members so they can also communicate. Perhaps not about new issues but for the existing ones.
If TR is about satisfying the volunteers and the most active members, it won’t work like BW didn’t. BW strategy acted as a repellant to many people who just wanted a working hospex website. CS with all the mess they have done barely pissed of the random members who just cared about hosting and surfing a bit now and then.

Fixing most important issues and then promoting the website ( which is actually quite easy thanks to hitchwiki or members who are also on CS ) would help growing and perhaps get more people involved with the developpment.

An app for hitchhiking, more features for meet up aren’t a bad idea but it’s not that easy to set up, takes time and I personally doubt it would work well, simply because transportation is not an issue like finding accommodation…