Spotlight on BanjoMaps

Written by Chanie Hyde on the 21st of May, 2017

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Now the dust has settled on Demo Day, we’re giving you the chance to get to know our wonderful founders and their businesses a little better. Kicking off a weekly “Spotlight on Founders” series, we welcome you to get to know the ever positive Anna from BanjoMaps.   

You’ve already followed the intense trepidation and excitement Anna and the team have had around launching brand new technology like BanjoMaps in our documentary series

Now that some of the hardest work is over, we asked Anna to recap her thoughts. We’re giving you a sneak peek about last week’s Demo Day, and the experience so far.

Let’s set the scene. Anna had just five weeks to build a working prototype for DemoDay, using technology which had never been used this way before. The goal for Anna was to build an internal mapping system using beacons and magnetic interference of the compass to assist someone with vision impairment to navigate the indoors. It was a huge task, but in just 3 weeks, the team had put a prototype together to start testing. But as with all high-tech development, it’s not all smooth sailing…
We hope this honest account from Anna gives you some insights into how hard development can be:

I’m sitting here at Melbourne airport waiting for my plane back to Sydney and thinking about last week – a massive week for BanjoMaps…”


The lead up to Demo Day was fairly stressful, as the app was not really working. The team that were building it were stressed enough without me losing it and providing comments like that, so I simply provided more cheesecake.  

Unfortunately when the GuideDogs came to try out the app, they were walked in the wrong direction and around in circles, and into the door, and into the stairs. It wasn’t the happiest of experiences I’ve had.


I’m unsure how much sleep our developers Vlad and Dan had between the Friday of the GuideDogs visit and the Wednesday morning of Demo Day, but I’m pleased to say that the app was completely turned on it’s head.

I was thrilled to see that the map still looked the same, but the magic arrow was actually in the right place, and was finally pointing where I was heading. Coding is a complete mystery to me, but if there is an app god she was smiling on us for Demo Day.

BanjoMaps and Guide Dogs Australia

(It was so good to show the working app to Guide Dogs Australia!)


The day itself was great fun. The sense of relief that we all had that the app was actually usable turned to excitement as the BanjoMaps t-shirts were donned, the website went live and we had stickers!  

The team (formerly just me) suddenly increased significantly as the BlueChilli team came to help and we were able show the partners exactly what we can accomplish. We were also able to show the improved version to GuideDogs, and they could actually get from one place to another without defying death in the process!


Now that Demo Day is done our next step is onto UTS for a beta test! I’m quite excited about this as we actually have an app that actually works. We are ready to get onto the next step towards empowering people with visual impairment to independently navigate the world.

BanjoMaps team at SheStarts Demo Day

(The amazing team that has brought BanjoMaps to life.)

We are excited at what the future will bring for BanjoMaps and the rest of the SheStarts founders. To catch all the details of what went on at Demo Day, stay tuned for the next three weeks as the series follows the founders in the lead up to and at the big day.

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