Wherefun, founded by serial entrepreneur John Ho, is a Beijing-based startup providing a web2.0 platform where users can demonstrate their journey by mashuping their photos/videos and geographic data.
The so-called Geotagging technology is not really new and Wherefun is still at very early stage. But compares with several other existing service, such as EveryTrail, Flagr, Panoramio etc, Wherefun got some new ideas to make the geotagging more fun. Wherefun seems easy to play with. User creates a trip, uploads the photos taken along the trip, then uploads GPS log data collected by GPS device. The route will be virtually shown on the map, with photos tagged at the locations where they are taken. The geotagged trip can be saved and shared with friends and other users. A sample trip is here for you to explore.
Geotagging service and GPS service or LBS (Location-based Service) in general, in my opinion, will be getting very hot in next 5 years. It is just a perfect and straightforward combination of web2.0 and mobile service. My worry about Wherefun is that how many tourists will bring GPS tracking device with them in order to enjoy the fun of geotagging. The user base would not be very large. There will be some geeks loving it, but we should also note that uploading both photos and GPS log sometime is still time-consuming.
There are actually several more approaches can be used to do the geotagging.
1. LBS – It uses 3 base station to locate the mobile device. I used to develop an LBS application in my previous company. You just take a photo using a normal camera phone, then send the photo and text in MMS (Multimedia Message) to a proxy server which is connecting to LBS server. The Longitude/Latitude of your location will be automatically calculated, the photo and text will be tagged at the location on the map. It is deadly easy to use and no GPS device required, but MMS is still a bit costy and the accuracy of positioning is not good as GPS.
2. If have a Nokia phone with GPS enabled. The new Nokia Location Tagger (beta) is really cool. Nokia Location Tagger is a small application running on “selected” S60 3rd devices that allows you to tag pictures captured from Camera application with geographical coordinates from GPS. Technically, the location information is stored in the EXIF header of your pictures (.jpg file) and it can be retrieved by third party application, such as the popular photo service Flickr and Picasa Web.
It might be a cool business if Wherefun can also sell the GPS tracking device to its users with relatively low price. The travel agency might be interested in this service too, so white label its technology could be a nice monetization.