NatParks: Revolutionizing National Park Exploration with FlutterFlow

a month ago   •   3 min read

By Amman Waseem


For outdoor enthusiasts, NatParks is a new tool to explore the natural beauty of national parks. Developed by Mick Gow, a seasoned product UX designer with experience at Amazon and Microsoft, NatParks aims to build a foundation for anyone to visit national parks and foster a community of park enthusiasts. With 4,000 users (and 100 installs a day), NatParks leverages the power of FlutterFlow's low-code platform to revolutionize the way people interact with national parks.

The Story of NatParks:

Mick's journey to creating NatParks began with his passion for nature and outdoor adventures. Today people use many different tools to plan, visit, and track their national parks journey.  Mick embarked on a journey to centralize the national parks experience with this side project, dedicating evenings and weekends to bring his vision to life while he continued his day job as a designer at Amazon.

NatParks was born out of the desire to not only create a better national parks experience, but to also help solve some of the problems the national services face today by helping educate visitors on what to see, how to plan, and awareness of the lesser known parks and places to help manage crowds.

Development Journey:

NatPark's development started in August 2023, with a rapid prototype up and running in just four weeks. The app went through a beta launch in October 2023, followed by a public launch in January 2024. As a UX designer, Mick has typically leaned on developers, but challenged himself to learn many new tools including Firebase, connecting to external APIs, and how to take data from many different places and centralize them into one experience. FlutterFlow's ease of use and supportive community not only helped him learn these new tools but massively accelerated the development process since there was no gap between the designer and developer. By being empowered with tools that require much less coding, he was able to turn weeks-long tasks into day-long achievements.

Mick reflects on the impact of FlutterFlow on NatParks' development:

"FlutterFlow allowed me to quickly implement map features and craft my own data structure, significantly reducing the time and cost of development. I felt so empowered, and unlocked to be able to create a high-performance, native mobile app."

Features and User Experience:

NatParks offers a range of features designed to enhance the national park experience:

  1. Park Research: Users can search for parks using a map view, create wish lists of all the places they want to visit, and learn about permits and park entry.


2. Trip Logging: Users can add and document their trips to national parks.  

  1. Photo Uploads: A platform to share and view photos from park visits.

  1. Digital Passport: A virtual passport book experience for park enthusiasts to unlock achievements.


5. AI Chat: An AI feature for personalized recommendations and assistance.


Furthermore, innovative features like hidden gems and tips, user-generated content with upvoting, and welcome emails further enrich the user experience. Mick cites that although there was a learning curve with FlutterFlow as a designer, once he executed small projects, he was able to build without limitations. 

Tools & Integrations:

NatParks utilizes a variety of tools and integrations, including:

  • APIs from the National Parks Service, Recreation.gov, OpenAI, OpenWeatherMap, Google Maps, and Google Places
  • Firebase and Google Cloud functions for backend services
  • TwicPics for image optimization, reducing download times and bandwidth costs.

Results and Metrics:

Since its launch, NatParks has achieved impressive growth:

Number of Downloads: 4000 users within a month of public launch
Active Users: Steady increase with 100 new installs per day
User Engagement: 8,000 trips to national parks logged and 13,600 photos uploaded


Conclusion:

NatParks exemplifies the power of FlutterFlow in transforming ideas into reality quickly and efficiently. It serves as an inspiration for designers and developers looking to create impactful applications with minimal overhead. You can start building with your own inspiration at FlutterFlow.io.

To learn more about NatParks and embark on your journey to explore the wonders of national parks, visit visit NatParks or download on App Store and Google Play.

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