A new subscription-based mobile phone application has been launched to allow friends and family to follow a gap year traveller live online as they travel abroad. The core function of Gaptrac is to provide safety for the user and peace of mind for loved ones left at home.
Safety is provided via a “Red Alert” key which allows the user to summon help on a worldwide basis should they encounter a problem. Peace of mind is achieved firstly because of this “Red Alert” function but also because parents and loved ones can log on and see where the user is. The facility was described by one parent as “an electronic minder”. A key differentiator is the fact that the user does not need to ‘check-in’ – his or her location is automatically updated and available online to authorised followers.
Ubitrac, the developers of Gaptrac, anticipated a level of antipathy from the youngsters being tracked but were pleasantly surprised by the level of concern shown by youngsters about worrying their parents. To further attract youngsters, Gaptrac has been developed as a market leading social networking application providing rapid and one-touch automated uploading of photo’s, video’s and audio blogs direct from the users phone. Gaptrac also gives free worldwide text messaging between Gaptrac handsets and followers online.
Gaptrac’s advice to users is “think of yourself as a film producer and cameraman rolled into one and that you are making a documentary of your gap year or perhaps just a night out.” Those authorised to follow can watch a trip evolve live online, sharing in the adventure without imposing on the traveller’s independence. On their return the user has a unique digital “documentary” of their journey.
Users can store 12,000 photos on Gaptrac’s co located enterprise servers. When a photo is selected the map reloads to the day and place it was taken, providing a compelling new edge to how you view your photos. Gaptrac also allows users to insert a text or audio caption on the photo.
Each user is provided with a unique URL which they can distribute to friends and family. When someone responds they are required to provide personal details before the user authorises and categorises them. Anyone authorised can then access the users map and those photos they are authorised to see.
Whilst Gaptrac aims very much at the emotive issues surrounding parental concern over gap year travel, Gaptrac’s developer Ubitrac were regularly asked if the product was also suitable for use in the UK. The answer was a resounding ‘yes’ and with this in mind Ubitrac has launched a sister product called KEEPTRAC. This is aimed more at the social networking scene but still offers the full functionality of GAPTRAC.
Also invaluable to gap travellers is World Mobi - the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the World Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are Brussels.Mobi, London.Mobi, Sanfrancisco.Mobi and Sydney.Mobi.
The guides offer click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.