Native internet firm launches GPS monitoring in Saskatoon meals vans

Hungry Saskatoon residents lost downtown searching for their favourite food truck may have just found their lunch-time saviour., a locally developed website that uses GPS technology to track the whereabouts of food trucks in the city, launched last week.

The site uses Google Maps to show where each food truck is located. It also states whether or not the truck is open for the day.

Saskatoon-based Nova-Tek Innovations needed only three weeks to develop the site. They’re hoping to soon launch Snack Map as an app.

“We started by just sitting around the office, wondering, ‘How can we find these food trucks?’ We were trying to following everyone’s Twitter feed. We figured, ‘There’s got to be a better way to do this’ ” said Evan Taylor, a web developer with Nova-Tek.

“We were talking about it and figured, ‘Why don’t we do it?’ ”

Food truck owners simply flip a switch in their truck to turn on the GPS. When the switch is on, the site tracks the truck’s location and lists the truck as open. Owners simply flip off the switch when they close for the day.

The easiest part for Nova-Tek was convincing food truck owners to place the trackers in their vehicles.

“We were more than welcome to have them help us out,” said Cole Dobranski, co-owner of Congress Beer House and the Ace Burger food truck. “It just gets everyone in Saskatoon to know exactly where we are, so why wouldn’t we want to do it?”

Saskatoon has so far been very supportive of food trucks, Dobranksi said.

Snack Map recently gave another local website permission to use their technology., according to its creators, is devoted to all things food truck in Saskatoon. The site includes descriptions of each food truck, an online method to book food trucks for events and, as of this week, the Snack Map widget.

The street food site creators were also working on a way to map food trucks’ locations, but Nova-Tek beat them to the punch.

“No, it’s not a race to the punch. I think they’re doing a different thing than us. The map was just a small part,” Chad Reynolds, co-creator of YXE Street Food, said. “I’m happy to be working with them. It’s good.”

Reynolds considers his site more of a promotion tool for food trucks in the city.

“We refer to it as a record label for food trucks. We’re doing everything a record label would do for musicians, but doing that for food trucks. We do marketing for them. We do bookings.”

The YXE Street Food crew is organizing a food truck festival — or, in their words, a Street Meet — for September. No exact date or location has been set. The pair is hoping to release details on the festival sometime after the August long weekend.

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