The Entrepreneurship Hatchery  ☰ 


Harris Chan, Rahul Goel

Value Proposition

While various manifestations of web-based and mobile tools for outdoor navigation, such as Google Maps and GPS have become widely available, there still remains a need for applications that enable precise indoor navigation. Although floor plans for manual navigation and geo-tagging technologies exist, it makes it arduous for users to pinpoint their exact location in large indoor areas and communicate it with others effectively.

Picarta aims to address this issue by developing a customizable mobile application that allows indoor navigation and socialization based on the user’s precise whereabouts. Utilizing a repository of indoor maps for public places, such as museums, galleries and shopping malls around the greater Toronto area that are easily accessible online, and with the help of Quick Response code technology, the mobile app will provide users with an efficient and comprehensive tool to navigate indoor areas. Additionally, a social interface integrated with the application will enable users to reach out to others in their area and socialize based on shared interest and locations. Public and private places, such as museums, shopping malls and art galleries can also advertise their exhibits and special events through this application to reach out to customers.

Harris Chan | Electrical and Computer Engineering

Harris is a student in the Division of Engineering Science going into his 3rd year of study in the electrical and computer engineering option. Before his involvement with Picarta, Harris conducted research in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, investigating thermal conductivity of thermoelectric materials. Harris was inspired to become involved in entrepreneurship after his experience with Engineers Without Borders, where he learned about making sustainable businesses that create change. Harris has also been active in the Rubik’s cube competitions since 2005 and is currently the Canadian champion.

Rahul Goel | Engineering Science

Rahul is a student in the Division of Engineering Science going into his second year in the undergraduate program. Rahul has always been fascinated by challenging existing ways of performing actions and creating new paradigms through his do-it-yourself projects. In January 2013, he developed a mobile game for visually impaired users, known as Pitch Perfect, which was very successful in the University of Engineering Kompetitions, as well as other contests at the provincial and national levels. After joining the Hatchery, Rahul was joined by Harris and Daniel to form the team that would eventually become Picarta.

Journey with the Hatchery

The ideation behind Picarta was initiated by University of Toronto student Rahul Goel (EngSci 1T6), who developed a mobile game for visually impaired people known as Pitch Perfect. After successful participation in the University of Toronto Engineering Kompetition (UTEK) as well as other contests at the provincial and national levels, Rahul was invited to the Hatchery to further cultivate his entrepreneurial interests. He was then joined by fellow U of T students Harris Chan (EngSci ECE 1T5) and Daniel Li, forming the team formerly known as Nanomaps. Although the initial goal of team was to produce a navigation tool for the visually impaired, the project grew in scope to address the overall problem of indoor navigation, thereby creating the vision for a mobile application that would enable efficient and precise geo-tagging and associated socialization for its users. .