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Evan Kennedy
Evan Kennedy

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The Outdoors in the digital age...

In a word where an increasing amount of our lives is spent staring behind screens, I've found that it often helps me to spend an equal amount of time in the great outdoors. I, any probably tons of others since the start of the pandemic, have found that going outside and getting immersed in nature is a great way to clear your head and just relax. In a world where technology has made our lives more connected and convenient than ever I want technology to make the outdoors more accessible to everyone. I know that may sound like some tree-hugging hippie moonshot but, if we spent more time looking up how to get outside and off of our devices rather than use our devices to find more excuses to sit around and use them, I think the world would be a little less stressed.

The Idea

If I could dedicate myself to one technology to help bring my ideas to life it would an app that aggregates information, based on location, on any nearby outdoor activity imaginable. The app would have a series of maps, geotagged photos, locations, and areas that are hotspots for things like hiking, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, kayaking, and an endless amount of other outdoors adventures that I'm forgetting to mention. The best part about the platform is that it would be open-source and would allow users to upload their own attractions, recommendations, and ideas. My whole idea behind the app would be for regular people living all across the world could share their local outdoor wonders with a massive audience of people looking to go off the beaten path and experience new locations and activities. Everyone can be a tourist and see big attractions like anyone else, but this app would be for people who want to get to the places where no one knows about yet.

The Plan (assuming I have unlimited time and money...which would be nice)

Assuming I could just use the skills I have now to go out and do anything I wanted with no worries about time, money, or any other limitation, I would want to create technologies that unite people around their commonalities. I would want to create technologies that help people pursue their passions, whatever they may be. One very earlier example of a website that inspired me was a website called I used it lots of times when I was younger to find rope swings, waterfalls, and various other hard to reach swimming holes. Unfortunately, the website was eventually taken down probably because it made suggestions for swimming holes that were on private lands. To be clear, no one should be trespassing on anyone's property just to get to a swimming hole unless you have permission. The thing that really inspired me about was that it was just 3 guys who had an idea to create a website where people with cool swimming hole locations could share them. The website had maps of each location, it had directions to each location, and it had reviews of each spot from some of the people who went there. That kind of open source platform where unique locations can be shared is what I would want to create on a much bigger scale. I wish that people across this country had an app as popular, addicting, and enticing as the TikToks and Instagrams of the world but instead of making people scroll through their phones I want it to inspire them to use their phone as a guide to incredible places waiting to be found. I my skillset, and the future skills I will need to develop, enable me to find better ways of solving problems, to create new and efficient ways to performing tasks or designing systems that, above all, save time and are efficient. I think that technology should make all of our lives are seamless and efficient as possible so that we can free ourselves from doing repetitive tasks and useless busywork in order to create more time for ourselves. I want people to work smarter, not harder. By doing that we can create a world where we don't have to stare in front of a blue screen all day, and can use our phones to actually help us put them down and go outside.

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