App Ideas – Route builder

This is the first post in a series I plan, outlining ideas either for modifications to existing products, or a desire for an entirely new product. As a product manager or program manager for almost 10 years, random ideas strike me at a moments notice, but I can’t productize everything I dream up. If I post an idea here, it is public domain.

Name: Route builder
Product: Mobile maps (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, any other mobile device)
Problem: When you need to run three errands, why can you only put in one destination?
Proposed solution: Say you need to go to Target, your Chase bank branch, and a Hallmark store. Sure, if you’re in your home town, or going to stores you always use, it would be limited in use. But when going to stores, parks, or other destinations you dont normally visit or when travelling to other cities, it would be useful.

  1. Click Build Route
  2. Type in each of the destinations. I envision a spot for a single destination, with a + to append additional destinations.
  3. Click Route
  4. Route builder finds the most efficient route to visit all three of those destinations.
  5. Bonus points:
    1. I should be able to tell my mapping app my home address, work address, and add addresses of family members by way of the address book, allowing me to use them as a destination (or if I’m at one of them, the source).
    2. With any route, the user should be able to specify that they want to complete a round trip to their current location. In doing so, the route could be optimized either by the order I need or want to visit them, or by the most efficient route.
    3. I should be able to save a route for access later if I want to.
    4. This could easily be modified to append additional destinations after you’re on your way to destination 1.

As an iPhone owner, I’ve often wished for this functionality in the iPhone’s built in Maps application – and I doubt I’m alone.