I’ve been developing apps commercially for the past seven years and during that period I’ve always had side projects, several of which have ended up in apps that have been on the app store at some stage.
NerdNav has been my side project for the best part of a year, but its inspiration came from two events almost exactly 40 years apart.
In 1975, when I was 13 years old I lived in the valleys of South Wales with my parents. Both of my older brothers had moved out and I was often dragged along when my mum and dad went off to drive around the Brecon Beacons, a beautiful national park about 40 minutes from where we lived.
At the time I was a huge Tolkien fan, and on one of these journeys I remember sitting in the back of the car watching the countryside go past and imagining that it was Middle Earth and we were travelling to Mordor. How far would we have to go to get there? At the time I had no idea, but if I’d had a NerdNav, it would have shown me exactly.
Fast-forward forty years to 2015 and I was on the south coast of England with my wife. In fact, we were at the southernmost point, Lizard Point in Cornwall on a beautiful clear day. As I looked out across the ocean to the south west I wondered what was in that direction. I had a pretty good idea, but I wasn’t sure, so I thought I’d build an app to find out.
Originally the app was going to be called “What’s Over There?”, as that seemed to describe what I wanted it to do, but when I started to consider what was below the horizon, to the point that you point your device toward the ground “What’s Under Here?” would probably have been an equally good name.
In the end it was the content that shaped the name. The combination of a dataset based upon nerdy locations and the fantasy worlds of Tolkien and George RR Martin gave the whole thing a very niche specialism, so NerdNav it became.