Hivemapper is a decentralized digital mapping network built on Solana. Inspired by Helium (Helium Inc.), a decentralized wireless data network, Hivemapper rewards participants with the native HONEY token for capturing map data from dashcams and adding it to a decentralized, open-source Google Maps alternative. In April 2022, Hivemapper announced an $18 million Series A fundraise, turning Hivemapper’s vision into a reality. High-profile investors include Multicoin Capital, Solana Ventures, Masterclass founder and CEO David Rogier, former Tinder CEO Elie Seidman, and former Apple Maps executive, Jaron Waldman.

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the Hivemapper ecosystem. We’ll discuss decentralized mapping service benefits. Also, we’ll take a look at how Hivemapper rewards users for their contributions using the HONEY token.

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What is Hivemapper?

Hivemapper is an open-source, decentralized global map that connects a network of contributors who provide map coverage via dashcam content. Users connect to the map via the Hivemapper app. Also, contributors earn the native HONEY token for their efforts. Thanks to the use of blockchain technology, Hivemapper operates without a central governing body. Instead, Hivemapper’s Mapping Network Foundation facilitates decentralized ecosystem governance using smart contracts on Solana. The Hivemapper Mapping Network Foundation will enable network participants to vote on proposals to determine the future development and direction of the network.

Hivemapper in blue text with white background.

The “Map Image” API (application programming interface) enables users to connect to the global map. Vehicle authentication uses Helium’s network of around 70,000 nodes. Hivemapper will use a similar token incentive model to the Helium network, which has seen significant adoption in recent months.

The project was founded in 2015 with the vision of creating maps using a series of drones. However, this model proved difficult to scale as it required the team to pay people to build maps. At the time of writing, Hivemapper contributors are helping to map nine metropolitan areas, including London, Los Angeles, and Singapore. Series A funds will go towards expanding the network into new regions and developing new dashcam hardware.

Hivemapper uses mostly open-source code. There are three core elements at the heart of the Hivemapper mapping network:

  1. The “Titan” mapping engine converts collected data into a global map and generates tiles.
  2. Hivemapper Contributor App enables users to collect location telemetry using dashcam content.
  3. Hivemapper’s Map Explorer and Map Image API serve users of the global map.

Open Dashcam (ODC)

Open Dashcam (ODC) is an open-source dashcam that is purpose-made for contributing to the Hivemapper decentralized mapping network. Hivemapper built the first iteration of the ODC. However, the team will implement external development and manufacturing for future versions. This will enable third-party developers to create their own versions of the ODC and advance the open-source technology. 

Hivemapper's Open Dashcam (ODC) - Individual shows of the ODC from Hivemapper.

Furthermore, third-party developers will be able to create location-specific devices that are tailor-made to suit specific geographies. The key principle of the ODC is that users can set it up and forget about it. After creating an account and syncing a device, users don’t need to worry about turning the camera on because all new tiles (sections of the map) automatically transfer to the network.

Compliant dashcams must have a minimum resolution of 4K and be able to dynamically adjust the rate of frames per second (FPS) to prevent an over-collection of data. Also, the ODC must be capable of transferring data to Hivemapper’s Contributor App via the internet. Furthermore, all ODC designs must encrypt GPS data to preserve data security and authenticity.

The HONEY Token

The HONEY token is the native cryptocurrency of the Hivemapper network. Contributors earn HONEY token rewards for mapping the network, which they store in the Solana-based Hivemapper wallet and are freely transferable to other Solana wallets and exchanges. The HONEY token has a maximum supply of ten billion. Around 70% of these tokens go towards rewarding contributors for map coverage and quality control. The image below shows the reward structure that the Hivemapper Network Foundation will use for token distribution:

When the Hivemapper mainnet launches, contributors will receive a distribution of four billion HONEY tokens. This minting rate will fall by around 40% biannually and is dependent on map coverage. Accordingly, token mining will only increase when map coverage increases. Every time a region meets the minimum mapping threshold for the previous week, it enables contributors to earn the maximum possible number of tokens in that area. Contributors in regions that fall below this threshold can earn rewards based on “map progress” and “region multiplier” formulas. 

Rewards

Anyone who uses an approved Hivemapper dashcam can contribute to the global map and earn HONEY token rewards. Further, to earn rewards, data must be collected in daylight hours using a correctly mounted dashcam. Also, contributors can only collect rewards from areas with open tiles and must have successfully mapped one complete tile. No rewards are given for the collection of video frames with obstructed views, data captured during non-daylight hours, or for already-mapped tiles. In addition, tiles can be remapped every seven days to ensure data is kept up to date.

Reward chart for contributing tiles to the Hivemapper network.

Tiles are the atomic unit that the network uses to capture data about a physical location. Contributors earn HONEY token rewards upon the successful mapping of an available tile. This economic incentive aims to create a reliable and consistent mapping network without errors. Contributors earn $0.0004 for every tile covered. The “Tile Attribution” system enables the Hivemapper network to validate content, locations, and tiles to ensure all contributions are of the highest quality and that no falsified entries make it onto the map. 

The Tile Attribution function aims to gain the trust of the community. Initially, attribution will be carried out by third parties. However, the network will transition quality and performance control into code after successfully implementing the novel “proof-of-location” concept. 

Reward distributions occur on the 15th and 30th of every month. Contributors must connect their PayPal accounts to their Hivemapper accounts to receive rewards. In the early stages of development, the network will only reward users for map coverage. However, the second phase of the network will enable contributors to earn rewards from map labeling, computations, and hosting.

Route Novelty

Initially, token rewards will be equally distributed in all areas at first. However, Hivemapper will incentivize contributors to focus on mapping new locations by increasing the rewards for less saturated routes. The “Novelty Multiplier” will automate this calculation and distribute rewards accordingly. As soon as an area becomes saturated, contributors will be able to see the effect it has on their earnings. Accordingly, new and less frequently mapped areas will become more desirable.

Regions 

Throughout 2022, the Hivemapper network will continue to expand global mapping operations. The initial phases will provide a closed group of contributors with dashcams who will be paid in cash. Upon the formal constitution of the Hivemapper Mapping Network Foundation, dashcams will begin shipping in the summer of 2022. After distributing dashcams, the Hivemapper network will expand to approximately 30 regions. At this point, contributors will begin earning HONEY token rewards.

How to Become a Contributor

To become a dashcam contributor on the Hivemapper network, users must be in possession of an approved dashcam. There is no application process because Hivemapper is permissionless. However, contributors will need to set up a free Hivemapper account. 

Contributors need a vehicle to mount the dashcam onto. Also, users have to download the Hivemapper mobile app for iOS or Android. Mobile devices must be no more than three years old and have a data connection. Plus, early contributors need a PayPal account to receive rewards. Furthermore, network participants are anonymous. No personal data is shared about contributors. Instead, faces, number plates, and names are hidden to help participants feel safe.

The Hivemapper Mapping Network Foundation

The Hivemapper Mapping Network Foundation is a global not-for-profit organization responsible for overseeing the governance of the Hivemapper ecosystem and the transition into a fully-decentralized network. Contributors will be able to vote on proposals to make changes to the parameters of the network. Also, the foundation will promote the development of new open-source technologies to help the ecosystem thrive in the years to come.

The formal establishment of the foundation will take place in 2022. It will form a US-based entity and comprise three initial committees covering the technical and economic aspects of the network, along with a dedicated committee for map quality. Also, the foundation will be responsible for creating transparent processes for updating the Hivemapper protocol. In addition, the foundation will develop partnerships with hardware developers and manufacturers for creating new dashcam devices.

Why Build a Decentralized Map?

Most global maps are under the control of a small group of powerful companies. Global maps cost a lot to build. Plus, this cost is set to increase due to the lack of competition in mapping APIs. Current maps collect user data without paying them for it, and maps can be censored at any time for any reason. Furthermore, global maps often provide outdated data, particularly in developing markets. 

Economic incentives provided by the HONEY token can help reduce the costs of mapping data on a global scale while encouraging the highest quality contributions. The high-quality 4K dashcams cost just a few hundred dollars. Rather than paying contractors in every part of the world, Hivemapper is helping to lower the cost of global mapping while providing an equitable system for rewarding contributors. Also, contributors across the Hivemapper network can conduct quality assurance audits.

The Hivemapper Map Image API frequently updates the global map so that users gain access to fresher imagery than they could with a centralized map service. Plus, contributors have a financial incentive to regularly update the map and provide a wider variety of angles.

The use cases for such a decentralized map expand into multiple industries. For example, Hivemapper is well suited to logistical applications. Also, decentralized maps that are regularly updated could benefit courier and delivery companies by providing missing addresses and granular information for complex addresses such as hospitals and shopping centers. In addition, Hivemapper could streamline the risk assessment process for property and provide vital visual data for utility maintenance.

What is Hivemapper? Exploring the Crypto-Mapping Network – Summary 

Having a global map on a public blockchain such as Solana provides several benefits for users. Rather than placing the responsibility of upkeep on a small group of powerful individuals, a broader community of users have a financial incentive to maintain the Hivemapper network and ensure data is up to date. Also, decentralized blockchain networks can help to increase data security and transparency while providing resistance to censorship.

Hivemapper benefits from the security features of the Solana blockchain. Any potential hacker would need to expend significant amounts of computational energy to attack the Solana blockchain. Conversely, centralized servers act as a single point of failure that increases the chances of security breaches.

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