TrueNorth in beta testing

Brosen Windrose RingSometimes you work on something so hard for so long you actually miss the point where it became, for lack of a better word, “usable”.

There’s this idea in software development of the minimum viable product, which in my opinion isn’t the same thing as the minimum useful feature set, but there’s probably some debate.

The first term pivots on the  idea of “viability” — whether this means financially viable, or something else is debatable. The second term talks about a set of features that are useful, or those features that can complete a workflow or task. In my opinion, “viability” or “marketability” is a fuzzy term because I’ve seen things that are marginally useful, and many that are not useful at all, be marketed and make a lot of money.

Regardless,  TrueNorth reached the second milestone a few months ago when I actually started using it to do some research (see my post on measuring GPS accuracy; we used TrueNorth to do the file format and unit conversions), which I went on to present at a national Search and Rescue conference.

Then I found myself using TrueNorth more and more often to accomplish minor tasks that needed doing; look at the terrain at a certain place, compare Google Satellite to OpenStreetMap, convert coordinate systems, or just to print something for a friend’s hiking trip.

Finally, last week I realized that I was using TrueNorth to print maps to send to the local police in an ongoing missing person’s case. That’s when it hit me; TrueNorth is being used. It’s useful. Even if only to me.

So today we announced that TrueNorth is officially in beta testing.

Over  the next few months we’re going to field test TrueNorth in the environment of a Search and Rescue team, a group of unpaid backcountry professionals. It’s a big milestone, and a very exciting time for BlueToque. If you want to follow along, go and read the TrueNorth development blog. If you want to be a tester at some point, sign up for the email list. I’ll let you know when we’re ready to let the outside world take a look.


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