Quirky travel mapping application allows travelers to visualize trip planning
Go Pro Travelling has announced their new take on maps, an interactive mapping application that allows users to plot out trips and collaborate with friends, family and colleagues to build trips in a visually engaging way.
The company, which is based in Greece and not affiliated with GoPro cameras, has added the functionality in an attempt to redefine the way that travel planning maps are created.
Go Pro Tavelling went live in January 2012, and is a mapping web based application that helps travellers and travel companies easily map, showcase and share their trips automatically converting them into an animation.
The interactive mapping feature is in beta, and the company is clearly enthusiastic about it. They wrote to early beta users in an email:
For first time since maps became digitized last century, maps are ALIVE! Now every travel map you make will be automatically transformed into an animated map! Among the new features of this version we also bold the new design and function that allow your friends to literaly “pin” travel suggestions on your map!
Users can place different segments on their maps, selecting “flight,” “walk,” “vehicle,” or “bike” for the individual segments. Landmarks are easily placed, as are various places of interests.
UPDATE: In January, Go Pro Travelling added a clever “Kick It” feature. When users click on a hotel, they have the option to check availability or “kick it,” which means remove it from the search tool. Booking.com provides Go Pro with their accommodation listings and it also introduced similar functionality on some parts of its website a couple of months ago.
After users have compiled their trips, they can share the URLs with friends who can press the “play” button and watch the trip unfold in an animated “real-time.” A small selection of music tracks can be laid over the trip, creating an interactive experience that is actually fairly interesting.
Groups, friends, couples and families planning excursions will likely get a kick out of this, as being able to see the full journey unfold is not only fun but also useful to visualize how the trip will unfold.
Q&A with co-founder Guido Colombo in Greece:
Why should people or companies use your start-up?
Companies should use Go Pro Travelling to showcase their product portfolio on their websites and on ours as well; because it helps visualize in an informative, unique and highly engaging way with their potential customers.
Informative because maps answer a basic question every traveller has “Where?” and engaging because it maximizes the reception of information with multiple transportation modes, routes and our recently launched animated capability. It is proved that people remember and understand up to six times more when data is visually represented. Plus we invite them test it for free.
Travellers use it because it helps them map present, past and plan future trips privately or collaboratively. The experience goes from the beginning up to the very end where they can save and share with their friends taken pictures, routes and impressions of their travels in an animated way.
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
At the very end we believe that only a unique and valuable product makes the difference. That is why we work with passion day and night on Go Pro Travelling so that our customers and users spread the word by themselves.
What other options have you considered for the business and the team if the original vision fails?
We do not think on failing, but if it indeed happens the developed product is so flexible that would allow us to enter other markets (and we already have had – not so serious – offers).
What mistakes have you made in the past in business and how have you learned from them?
Nowadays is so easy to have a global presence that we sometimes do not repair on what is around us, literally speaking, our first mistake was not to “go local, think global”, but what it does not kill you make you stronger.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
There is nothing wrong with the “foundations” of the industry, but as many industries it will constantly be changing and mutating looking for better, more innovative and efficient ways of achieving goals and there is where Go Pro Travelling wants help and go.
While Go Pro Travelling definitely has some work to do on the slickness of the interface – especially given the hyper-competitive travel planning tool landscape – the company has created something new, a rarity in the travel startup space.
At first, the ability to animate a trip seems gimmicky. On further inspection, however, it is a useful, fun and interesting tool for travel geeks of all stripes. Being able to see exactly where a particular trip will take you is intriguing, and will allow groups, friends, couples and others to really dive deep into the trip planning process.
An integration with Street View, and Google’s developing interior 360-degree views, could really take this to a different level and appeal to armchair travelers as well.
Business models at play could include custom trips that one could book in a click, created by celebrities, tour companies or other entities. These companies would either pay outright for the “featured trip” designation, or GPT could take a commission for each booked trip.
Transportation companies could also bid on each segment of a user’s trip. The user has already demonstrated an interest in a particular route, offering the type of targeted interest that makes Google so much money.
When considering other trip mapping startups like Georama, Go Pro must tackle the following three areas for success: Tweak the interface, develop and nurture a community, and offer a more immersive multimedia experience.
Nick Vivion is a reporter for Tnooz, based in New Orleans, USA.
His passion for travel technology led him to travel around the world shooting travel videos for Current TV and Lonely Planet TV in 2006 and 2007.
He shot on Mini-DV, edited on a white MacBook, uploaded and shared online as he traveled. His moxie for travel video has resulted in over two million views on his YouTube partner channel.
In addition to travel, Nick co-founded of one of the web’s most talked about LGBT media sites, Unicorn Booty, and has gone "blog-to-brick" with a bricks-and-mortar restaurant called Booty's in New Orleans – serving street food from around the world.