By Kim West
Jeremiah Forsyth had an epiphany during last year’s deer season that it would be convenient for local hunters to have a phone application that would instantly notify them if a deer had been bagged in Limestone County.
This April, Forsyth, 32, teamed with Sales Huddle Inc., a New York-based sports consulting firm, to develop OutdoorLoop, a free phone application currently available for the iPhone that allows outdoor enthusiasts to share their locations and photos and follow trends on Facebook and Twitter.
“I had the concept for over a year, and (we) started working on the app in April,” said Forsyth, a married father of two who lives in the Owens community and also works for Navistar and grindrecruiting.com. “This started out just for deer hunting because I wanted it to be where you could be notified when a deer had been killed or taken in your county — I wanted my phone to buzz when you killed a deer — and it just evolved to include fishing, hiking, camping and four-wheeling.”
He explained that The Loop helps people identify and track a photo or a location, rather than a specific person.
“Every deer season, everyone who deer-hunts would get a photo of a deer someone killed, but you wouldn’t know where it was from,” said Forsyth, an avid hunter and fisherman who began hunting when he was 10 years old. “It was rumor mill, just a viral photo shared by text messages, and I wondered what if we had an app that allows people to upload the photo, tell the location if they want to and follow a user, just like on Twitter.
“What sets this app apart is that you can follow the county or a location. It’s not a news feed — it’s a loop.”
The app, which was soft-launched in October and received a half-million visits for the debut of its Facebook page, is scheduled soon for its first major upgrade and will also be featured on the website for The History Channel’s “The Swamp People.”
Forsyth, whose goal is to put The Loop in the top 125 of social networking, said he plans to have it available for Android phones by spring next year.
“This is the only outdoor social network there is, and the first app out of 755 apps in the market where you can follow the location,” said Forsyth, who spends nearly 30 hours per week tweaking the app. “This is the No. 1 social community for people in the outdoors, and people couldn’t believe there wasn’t already an app just dedicated to the outdoors.
“This is a very base version of the app, and it is going to change dramatically over the years, including the map functionality and the user interface. My goal is to make it even better, and we’re always looking for user feedback.”
Forsythe said the app’s primary goal is to provide a way for people who love the outdoors to share their experiences.
“That’s what this app is about — wanting to see people in the mud, people camping and hunting. It’s a way for people to discover other locations, to create a location and a way to see what’s going on.”