City Paper Widget

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"SketchFactor" Visits Logan Circle ANC

Daniel Herrington, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of SketchFactor, presented to Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle at its regular monthly meeting last night (September 10). Herrington said his presentation was done at the request on an ANC2F Commissioner.

Herrington tells the ANC about SketchFactor
SketchFactor is described on the support section of its website as "a navigation app that relies on crowdsourced experiences and public data. We're exclusively focused on improving city exploration on foot. SketchFactor empowers users to report sketchy experiences, read sketchy incidents, and get directions to where they need to go." At the meeting, Herrington described it as "user-driven and hyper-localized".

"You can define what you want and tell your story," Herrington said.

Herrington explained how the app worked and handed out paper screenshots of the app to the audience. He talked about the type of locations which might be appropriate to report on SketchFactor -- drawing examples from a report on prostitution on 11th Street NW made at the meeting moments before by a member of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Another example of a reportable location, according to Herrington, was an intersection where bicyclists feel threatened by drivers.

"What about intersections where bicyclists always run red lights?" an audience member asked.

Herrington agreed this could be reported on the app.

Users could upload and download stories, Herrington explained. They could also vote for or against stories, which would increase or decrease their prominence. Stories which users had tagged as offensive would be removed, he said.

Herrington said he had told his investors he hoped for 10,000 downloads from the Apple App Store after three months. He reached the goal in one day. After four days, he had 60,000 downloads.

SketchFactor was released on August 7 and has generated some strong opinions. "[N]ear universal howls of protest" was how the website The Awl put it. The Washington Post reported accusations of racism. Read a blog post rejecting the accusations that SketchFactor is racist here.

SketchFactor then got the type of publicity money can't buy when a TV crew from WUSA9 went to Petworth to report on the neighborhood's reaction to the app. While the crew was working, WUSA9's van was broken into and many thousands of dollars of equipment was stolen. See the WUSA9 report on the incident here.

The Apple version of Sketchfactor is available at the Apple App Store. Herrington said the Android version was being released for beta testing on September 30. The Android beta test version might be buggy, Herrington said, but urged members of the audience who were interested in beta testing the Android version to send him an email. Herrington's email address is

Harrington said he had made this presentation by invitation, and he had no immediate plans for further presentations to ANCs. However, he seemed to be open to further invitations.

SketchFactor co-founder Allison McGuire was also present, but did not speak to the ANC.

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