DevDialogue – Fotopedia Heritage App Developer Speaks

All of us yearn to travel far and wide to see the wonders of the world and the great places all around. Fotopedia realized this dream of the vast multitude and has put together Heritage which brings to each one of us this opportunity through the virtual medium. We go behind the scenes to find out how this creative group conceptualized the idea and converted into a reality through the involvement of international agencies and the community at large. In an interview with TheAppleGoogle, Mr Adrian Measures of Fotopedia shares with us their experiences and future plans.

1. How did the idea of developing a travel application consisting of a host of pictures and information, come to your mind?

Fotopedia Heritage brings together 20 000 photos from illustrating all World Heritage sites and 3 000 places of interest among them. Wikipedia and official UNESCO information give information about every photo making the app not only a travel inspirer but also a learning tool.

The application is built upon Fotopedia, the first collaborative photo encyclopedia. Fotopedia counts 40 000 articles and over half a million quality photos well organized. We were looking for new ways for people to enjoy all this content and make it useful. Many of the photos in Fotopedia come from travelers and places around the world. They are great to inspire people to travel and chose their net destination. That was our starting point for the app: inspire travelers, take them on an endless visual journey. And when we saw the iPad we just knew that was the device we wanted to do it on. Photos just look so great on it. The app also works on iPhone.

2. The pictures are just stunning. Did it take a lot of work to get those pictures?

The community added and organized all the photos. Anyone can join, add and organize photos. You can add your own photos or help us select the best photos among pools of photos under Creative Commons licenses, that we are allowed to reuse. Getting together so many great photos wouldn’t have been possible without Creative Commons and the help of some many people in the community to sort them out.

3. The App is free for download from the App Store and without ads. Though we appreciate this gesture a lot, why did you do that?

We decided to build an application about World Heritage sites in cooperation with UNESCO. These sites belong to all of us and it is our role to protect them. We hope that thanks to the application more people will visit the sites and be aware of the importance of protecting them. Even sites within the US like the Everglades National Park, which has been listed as endangered by UNESCO this year, need more protection.

4. What is your vision with the App?

Fotopedia Heritage has had an incredible start. We didn’t expect to be the number one travel application. We were even the number 2 iPad app spot. It is wonderful that an application on World Heritage sites is so successful.

We have already submitted an update of the app which will include search and a table of content with a slightly improved UI.

5. Could you give us a sneak peek into the future of the App and Fotopedia in general?

Fotopedia Heritage is the first of a series of application we are planning. The next application will be about US National Parks and will have the same new generation coffee table book experience.

These apps just give you a taste of what they can accomplish in the travel field. We have many users telling us about how it makes them want to travel. This is something we want to explore further.

6. The App is for iPhone and iPad. Do you intend to enter the Android market?

We will stick to the iPad, iPhone and to our website for now. Our app is in front of some large company apps like Google Earth, yet our team is very small compared to theirs.

Our website will be improved with some of the navigation offered on Fotopedia Heritage. The web is still the most universal way to get the most people to enjoy Fotopedia and our great photos.

7. How has been your experience with Apple ?

Fotopedia was founded by people from Apple, including Jean-Marie Hullot who was CTO of the Application Division and previously worked with Steve Jobs at NeXT. The founders worked on iCal, iSync and phone software before the iPhone project even started. So you can imagine we are big fans of Apple here and that was one more reason we wanted to work on iPad and iPhone.

As app developers this didn’t help us though and our experience was the same as for most developers. Some reviews said that Fotopedia heritage was exactly what the iPad was for. I believe this and our amazing start got us noticed by Apple featured as new and noteworthy.