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An app that lets people discover interesting locations in an area

Image credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.geopoint-al.com%2F%3Flang%3Den&psig=AOvVaw3fkcjqIGxHUeGDsV8J-chj&ust=1617880822428000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCJjexvuB7O8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAE

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 07, 2021
Think Geocaching meets virtual tours.

The idea is to have an app that allows you to access information if you are at a certain location. There are many virtual tour guides available and geocaching has been around for ages, but with conventional tours, you need to open the app when you are at a certain location. The idea of the app I'm suggesting is to give you quick bites of interesting information about the area you are in by tracking your location and sending you notifications when you are near an information point.

In this way, you can be surprised by little known facts about places you visit every day as well as get all the interesting information when you are travelling.

The information can be uploaded by users, or by hired writers. Personally, I think it would work best if the content is generated by users as people tend to have a deeper knowledge of their own areas than researchers ever could.

Information points can be rated using a star system and you'd be able to see where information points are on the app's map, but you won't be able to read the info if you aren't within a certain distance of the point. This could encourage users to go explore certain areas with many information points or perhaps go seek out a lone and isolated point, hoping to find something special.

What could the incentive be for people to write quality information for specific points though?
Would the simple pleasure of sharing knowledge about a specific area be enough to get people to contribute?

[1]https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurabegleybloom/2020/04/27/ranked-worlds-15-best-virtual-tours-coronavirus/?sh=6ef37aed6709

[2]https://www.geocaching.com/play

7
Creative contributions

Keeping spam at bay

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 07, 2021
I can imagine such an app would quickly run into spam. Business owners would have the incentive to embellish the facts about their area and advertise their places. As the app got more popular they would come up with ever more elaborate ways to draw people their way. In so doing they would reduce the quality of suggestions and thus the incentive for people to use the app in the first place.

All additions and edits should be objectively reviewed
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
I thought about this not from a business-spam but from a user-spam perspective. People could (and most likely would) start posting pranks and simple nonsenses extensively, so a system to filter such information is crucial. On the other hand, pranks could make the experience more fun if used rarely and wisely. I imagine someone hiking to some very remote location to be able to access the info point and the message saying "Congratulations, you are alive..." in the voice of a Saw movie doll, or something along those lines :)
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
Povilas S I also think not knowing what the information is could be part of the fun. Something like "Sorry there's not much here, but it sure was a nice walk."
The same moderators that would check the validity of the posts to make sure that businesses aren't misusing the platform could make sure that pranks and jokes don't get out of hand. But in the end, this would be a novelty app, so a bit of fun is always welcome.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
I thought the same, the best solution I have for it at the moment is the information rating system. If info is rated low and marked as uninteresting, self-serving or untrue it can be removed and whoever posted it can be blocked from contributing.

But like you said, by the time they are removed, it might be too late. I guess moderators can verify the legitimacy of new information before it gets posted.

Filter the notifications by the category

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Juran Apr 08, 2021
The app you proposed sounds amazing. It's something I would install and enjoy every day, although I live in my city for almost 30 years now. It could make people enjoy and get to know, not only new locations but also their local everyday environment.

What I can add is the categorization of the information. As with every new interesting app, the contents are the jewels of this one, too. While growing, an app could easily reach the phase where it stops being interesting for business people, the elderly, or kids, depending on which type of information is being uploaded the most.

Therefore, it would be very useful to sort the uploaded (and reviewed) information into categories such as historical (modern), historical (ancient), historical (medieval), historical (all), funny, sport, popular, business, fashion, technology, etc. That way, a kid could filter and get the notifications on sports, fashion, or popular, while an elderly couple could get the historical (all) info instead. It would make an app more personalized and consequently, more interesting.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
This is a great idea. It will allow the app to go even further, you could include nightlife, fun activities, markets and any other type of experience. It will allow visitors to see an area through the eyes of a local and even locals to just get to know little treasures in their area.

We can even add badges for people to collect, for instance: A bronze foodie badge - When you have visited 100 "food spots
Silver - 300
Gold - 500

Or something along that line.

Could we make it a location-based notice board or a social network?

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J
Juran Apr 08, 2021
What if the amount of the information is uploaded daily and grows into location-based social networks?

Imagine hiking in the mountains just to reach a "note" that your friend, who visited the same peak last week, left for you. It's locked information that can be unlocked only using the "key" that was sent to you. You reach and open it and there is a joke on you with a heart emoji. In two weeks you go to the underground metro toilet and leave the "revenge" message for your friend with hidden location, but navigation information.

That way, the information on discounts, events, and other promotional content could be shared and read by the nearby passengers, too. Information on missing, lost keys or items could be shared this way, even in the middle of nowhere. It could grow big.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
One version of this idea can also be converted into the game - treasure hunt. Since you have an app, you don't need to hide clues at the locations. Once the player reaches the spot, the app gives them the next clue. The clues can be spread over the city, or even better, multiple cities or remote locations like mountain peaks. The clues can be small paragraphs describing the location and it can include photographs of the place as hints. For example, if the clue suggests a place well above the ground, it could mean a tower, a plane, or a mountain. The photo of a mountain along with it will act as a hint and confirm that the location is indeed a mountain.

Or, the photograph itself can be a clue. For example, if this location is a cafe in your town, the bathroom sign in the cafe can be the clue. (https://www.google.com/search?q=weird+toilet+signs+in+cafes&sxsrf=ALeKk00X64v_vZ5urNmH1skXhePSYY-HeQ:1617947693032&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjG-YfsvPDvAhWWXisKHVITBmsQ_AUoAXoECAIQAw&biw=1517&bih=730#imgrc=e8-lSehgwq71SM)

Alternative version: The app will send the next clue to the player only if the player can upload a photograph that matches (at some level) the photograph posted in the hints section by the creator.

This will allow creating a personalized treasure hunt for the player. The uploaded games (after having played) can then be archived and with the permission of the creater, can be made available for other users to play. The new players can also buy that particular game and some money can be sent to the original creator, further promoting the app.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni While I originally meant for this to be a free app, to get as much organic content as possible, I do like the idea of people being able to create their own treasure hunts. Perhaps instead of "selling" these routes, users can be awarded special badges if they create a route that becomes popular.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
I love this idea, I was already thinking that perhaps you can check in at the information points and maybe post a photo of yourself in the area as a signature or something. Similar to the logbooks they have on mountain peaks.
Your idea of leaving notes for friends fits in perfectly with that.
It can even be used to lead your partner to romantic locations with special messages left for them. Or a person could set up an entire "tour" for friends and family to follow in order to get to know them better. Imagine someone leaving something like that to his/her grandchildren, explaining their entire life, where they grew up, where they worked, where they met their partner.
I'm quite excited about this idea now, thanks Juran, I think I'll start putting some time into this.

Amazing views

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 08, 2021
A feature in such an app could be to point out exact coordinates where a person should stand and in which direction they should look to see the most amazing views. Optionally add to this the ideal time of the day and period of the year.

People could attach photos to show the view. Each view location would be judged by people from other parts of the world (not natives). The system would try to get fair statistics for each view location so that there could be some kind of a global ranking of top views. You couldn't rate the view if the system doesn't specifically ask you to.


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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
This is actually how the idea started. I wanted to place fixed cameras at certain spots with amazing views. A group could then stand in front of the camera and use the app to trigger it to take a photo, which it would then send to the user via the app. Security issues around leaving a fixed camera in remote places made me abandon that idea, but that led to me thinking "what if I could take them to the view, then they can take the picture themselves".

Integrating photos will definitely be a major goal for the app.

I can also imagine adding some sort of "Pioneer" badge for people who locate special places before everyone else. Everyone knows of some landmarks that have great views, but there are so many more unknown, random spots that are equally majestic, so the goal would be to reward people for pointing them out.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Spook Louw even your fixed camera idea could have worked. There are rugged vandal-proof cameras in steel housing. You could anchor one in a block of concrete. The lense would be protected by bullet-proof glass. The only way to mess with the camera would be to somehow crack the glass or paint over it. You might need to periodically replace the glass, but the small piece shouldn't be expensive.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
Darko Savic Thanks! The fixed camera idea just relied on more hardware and capital. Basing the idea on an app makes it pretty easy to cover the whole world. Instead of being limited to wherever we've installed cameras, the app could work anywhere people started contributing. One could easily hire the first couple of writers on Upwork to get the ball rolling, but after that, the content is meant to grow organically.

Collector's item

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 08, 2021
Another element that could be cool would be to log all the points that users have visited. In this way, they can be ranked in tiers based on how many points they have collected.

People love the challenge of collecting something and collecting more points than your friends could give you a bit of bragging rights.

This could also lead to a nice visual addition to the app, where areas on the map are coloured in or marked off when you have collected all the available info points.

Name???

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 09, 2021
First, I'd like to thank everyone for their brilliant contributions so far.

What would we name such an app?

I was thinking of mixing information and location to get something like "Locaformation" but that sounds horrible.

Then I thought "Experience" might be nice and simple, yet quite descriptive. But I'm sure we can do better.

Like I mentioned in this brainstorming session, I believe names should be catchy and memorable while still remaining intelligent and classy.

Please feel free to suggest anything you think might work.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic24 days ago
You could go for a unique-sounding, non-descriptive, memorable name - in which case any cool-sounding word will do. Just make sure the .com is not yet registered. You can add to that name a descriptive high concept summary (local tour guides, local hidden gems, etc)

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
DirecTour?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
"Search for me"?

Content generation

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 19, 2021
Daami A's comment got me thinking.

Originally, the plan was to pay a couple of writers in the beginning stages of the app to generate content, hoping that it would cause a snowball effect of content being added to the app naturally. I still think this is the way to go and as mentioned in the comments, this could result in people becoming "influencers" and even making money from outside sponsors, similar to what happens on Instagram and TikTok.

But it made me think about two alternative approaches.

1- Anyone can submit an article, if it is approved by the moderators, they will receive payment for it. This could be a great incentive for people to submit their own articles and get the database growing, if the app works on subscription, their payment could then just fall under operating costs.

This could work but I think there might difficulties managing every article that gets posted and this approach could also result in the app losing money if more people are contributing than what can be covered by the subscription fees. Also, I'd like this app to be free, which means our expenses should be kept at a minimum.

2- Anyone can submit articles, or create "lists" or "hunts", these contributions are then rated and once you achieve a certain rating, your contributions can be labelled as premium content which users would then need to buy.

We can structure it so that users buy from the app and we then compensate the writers or so that users can buy from the writers themselves.

This could create a cool aspect of the app where people can buy niche content according to their preference. Imagine someone creating a list like "10 Best Smoking Spots in Cape Town" or "Brooklyn's 10 Best Pizza Places". If the content is good enough I can imagine people buying such a list to add to their experience.

I'm only playing devil's advocate here, I still think the app and its content should be free, but I would like everyone's input on these ideas.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni24 days ago
Spook Louw I understand your dilemma and I agree with you that the app and its content need to be free. Here is a way to keep it free but also generate some money. Users will post content and will not get paid for every bit of content. They need to have some amount of followers (decided based on the popularity of the app) for them to start generating income on theis posts. For users that want to use the app, there can be a free version and a premium version. The free version will show all the places around the user and tell them what the place is in one line. If possible, the Wikipedia page corresponding to the location (for example, if it is an old statue having historical importance, there will be a link to the Wikipedia page of the statue). This way, the content is already on the internet and does not need to be generated, and it will, therefore, save you money. The free version will also include posts by the users who have not reached a certain pre-decided amount of followers. When the users that post content achieve that number of followers (they become top-rated), their subsequent posts become premium content. Only the first paragraph of these posts will be visible in the free version (same as medium.com). The premium version will include content posted by the top-rated users, which will be more specific and personalized than Wikipedia. Maybe the free version can give users 5 locations they can read about (basically 5 pieces of premium content) and if they want to know about more locations, they need to go premium. Top-rated users will be paid a portion of the number of Premium users that visit their posts.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw24 days ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni That's a great model to build the payment plan on, thanks!

That said, I don't want to use Wikipedia as this defeats the purpose of travelling to the points to unlock the information. A user could simply look at the points on the map and then google it.
So I'll still need a lot of content before I can get it up and running.

I'm thinking I'll probably have to start with a much smaller area, probably my local area and if it builds momentum here I can expand.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni23 days ago
Spook Louw You are right, Wikipedia may be off-putting. Then the free version may include content from all users other than the top-rated ones. This is exactly how medium works. Since it is viable, it may not be a bad idea. Yes, writing about your local area would help. I am trying to think of ways to gain more momentum on the content without having to pay for it (or pay much). How about linking already existing travel logs to the specific locations on the app? They are more personal than Wikipedia and some are really fun to read. Some logs contain really in depth and useful information regarding a place.

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General comments

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Daami A.
Daami A.25 days ago
This is an excellent idea and I think it would add real value to a lot of people especially tourists. Sometimes tourists visit a new city and they just want to take a stroll with no destination in mind.
Unfortunately, while taking these long walks we sometimes miss a lot of important sittings. Like a small statue that holds a lot of history or a special restaurant that has a secret compartment for VIPs. This app would help tourists tell when they are close to something worth checking out. It would be better than other platforms as they wouldn’t need to stare at their phones like in the case of a digital map. They could simply check their device when they get a notification about a cool spot . There's a spontaneity to this. Adds to the adventure too. That way, they can enjoy their walks in a beautiful city while still getting hints on awesome places to check out
As for whether or not people would be interested in posting content on the app, I think that can be solved by designing the app like other social media platforms. “Likability” works on whether we like a post or not, and giving users a chance to show whether they like something weeds out the chances for spams.
It would basically be the media app for spontaneous adventure..

This would also improve the user experience as they can follow the content creators that they like and their likes would also inform the system about what kind of opinions and information they would appreciate. This way even if the platform gets loaded with a lot of spams people would still be able to enjoy good content as their feed would be tailored according to their likes and dislikes.

Content creators would quickly adopt the platform just like other social media platforms. It is an opportunity to express their feelings and opinions about a particular location. And there is always the chance of gaining fame and becoming an influencer.

In the long run, businesses from restaurants to museums would consider hiring these influencers to write reviews on their locations. This opportunity would entice even more people to post on the platform.

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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Could we come up with a more descriptive title for this idea?
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
Darko Savic I wanted to start a Brainstorming session for that very thing, or should we rather keep it on this post?

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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Spook Louw this comment section is probably more suitable for it
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Spook Louw How about "An app that lets people discover interesting locations in an area"