Mapunity is a Bangalore-based social entrepreneurship start-up incubated this February in the NS Raghavan Cell for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) on the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore campus. The company aims to address governance issues by developing technology platforms for mapping information. It has recently tied up with Airtel and the Bangalore traffic police to monitor traffic congestion and provide SMS-based alerts to commuters. Mapunity co-founderAshwin Mahesh, also a consultant for the Administrative Reforms Commission, spoke to Mint about the company. Excerpts:
What is the idea behind Mapunity?
Mapunity is short for Maps for Community. We are trying to bring together maps, communities and information in this space. In many areas of governance, lack of visualization is a big problem. So it is useful to have a platform to share spatial information.
What are the applications?
Information mapping can have several applications. We are currently working on three projects—a rural electrification mapping programme in Chhattisgarh, a transportation information system to monitor traffic in Bangalore, and a public health platform where one can map health information, spread of disease, etc. The Bangalore initiative has gathered maximum momentum. We have signed a contract with Airtel and the Bangalore traffic police to monitor traffic and provide live updates via SMSs to commuters.
How does it work?
We monitor traffic congestion by detecting the number of mobile phones in the area. Most commuters carry cellphones, so by mobile phone density, we are tracking people density on the roads. We map this and commuters can get updates on traffic situation and expected travel time between two points by sending an SMS to our short codes. As of now, we are providing the service free of cost, as it is meant to be a social initiative.
Airtel has approached us to apply the same technology to other cities as well. The Pune Municipal Corporation has also expressed interest.