Peterborough startup BiosphereGPS has launched a mobile app of the same name that encourages users to get away from the daily grind of urban environments and explore the ecosystems around them. The Beta version of the app has officially launched on the App Store.
Jordan Ahee founded BiosphereGPS in 2018, after years of focusing on the environmental sector. Ahee graduated Trent University’s Environmental & Life Sciences Program, worked at the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority as an Environmental Technician, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters as an Invasive Species Specialist and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in the Science and Research Branch as a Spatial Ecologist.
Now, Ahee wants to promote others to explore the Southern Ontario environments he has spent years researching.
The app’s mapping feature shows the distribution of 10 different environment types across Southern Ontario, including Agriculture, Broadleaf, Coniferous, Mixedwood, Shrubland, Grassland, Barren, Urban, Wetland and Water. BiosphereGPS provides a complete view of the landscapes users plan to visit, to help them pick ideal places to explore.
“We spend hours every day staring at our smartphones, swiping through feeds designed to keep us hooked – BiosphereGPS is headed in the opposite direction,” says Ahee. “I think smartphones can have a huge positive influence on people’s lives. This is a Beta version that we will build on in the coming months. For example, we are currently updating the app so it handles dark mode.”
Not only does the app encourage users to explore nature with maps, it also provides interactive features. Users can take photos in their environment to be rewarded with a series of outdoor exploration awards, from bronze, to silver and gold rankings.
The entrepreneur joined the Innovation Cluster in 2018 to build the mobile app, working out of the Cluster’s downtown incubator as a full-time digital client.
“Peterborough and the Kawarthas is the perfect place for the BiosphereGPS app to be launched,” says John Gillis, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “With countless trails, rivers and forests in the area, the community will be able to take advantage of the outdoors while supporting a local digital startup.”
The app can be used as a way to reduce stress, increase energy, and improve moods. According to a study in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, a mere 20 minutes outside each day leads to a 64 per cent increase in life satisfaction.
Ahee hopes people across Southern Ontario will test the Beta App and give feedback on what new features should be added.
“We are seeking seed stage investment, which will help to develop a pipeline of new features and expand into new markets across North America,” says Ahee.