Q&A with foursquare: building a “great outdoors” app with Pilgrim SDK


What makes Foursquare’s Pilgrim SDK special is its ability to help app users discover new and exciting places around the globe. From the ancient archaeological sites of Chiclayo to the best bites in Tokyo, Pilgrim SDK’s powerful foreground and background location awareness capabilities empower travelers to spot those “hidden gems” along their journeys. But, with so many great ways for developers to use Pilgrim SDK for travel-related use cases, it can be hard to pick just one app idea.

For some insight on this topic, we asked Zack Gilbert-Kreiling, a senior client solutions engineer at Foursquare, about what he would build with our developer-friendly location SDK. Along the way, he also filled us in on some of his favorite local spots, and why he’s so passionate about Pilgrim SDK’s rich set of features.

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, I’m Zack! I live in Chicago with my wife and 17-year-old chihuahua, May, who — fun fact — has her own Swarm sticker, which is a collectible Foursquare reward that users get for exploring the world. As a senior client solutions engineer, I help our enterprise partners and community developers with implementation best practices around our developer tools. And because of my combined love of travel and lifelogging (i.e., personally recording one’s daily activities), I truly believe that I was destined to work at Foursquare.

What would you build with our superpower, Pilgrim SDK?

With Pilgrim, there are so many awesome things that you can build; by offering visit detection technology and geofencing capabilities, Pilgrim is truly a one-of-a kind location SDK. With so many use case possibilities, I identified a cool idea for a “Great Outdoors” app that notifies you to check out cool stuff as you move about the wild.

Let’s dig into the app’s functionality. Imagine if you could build an app that alerts you to nearby places-of-interest as you move throughout your journey. This could include locations like national parks, hidden beaches, ancient ruins, great local eateries, or your favorite sports stadiums. For me, that’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites — think Angkor Wat — which I always research before I travel. How cool would it be to receive a notification that encourages you to check out a hidden fishing spot or hiking trail? The whole idea is centered around creating unexpected moments.

The app could even alert vacationers to little known facts about a historical site they’re visiting. For example, imagine receiving a notification about Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo being one of three zoos left in the country that is still free to visitors. With Pilgrim SDK, you can make sure travelers never miss a thing.

What’s your favorite Pilgrim SDK feature and why?

The new travel state feature —one of three User States available with Pilgrim —is really interesting to me. It allows you to send contextual pings or notifications to users while they’re in a specific movement state: traveling on holiday. The ability to personalize the end-user experience based on changes in location context is really powerful.

What tips do you have for independent developers about Pilgrim SDK?

Apply for free tier access of Pilgrim SDK, and start creating! And, be sure to download the latest version of the SDK; we are constantly adding new features and functionality so you don’t want you to miss out!

Build contextual app experiences with location using Pilgrim SDK. Create a free account and start building today. And for some feature or app thought-starters, check out our ongoing Q&A series about development ideas.

Have you built something cool with Pilgrim SDK? Submit it to this form and you may be featured on Intersections.

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