Imagine you just came back home from a long trip abroad and you want to share your experiences with your friends and family by writing a blog. Travel blogging, however, is time-consuming. So, you decide to post your photos on Facebook. Not a bad way to share your journey, but it does not really capture the essence of your awesome experiences either..
Polarsteps – Why was it created, what is it and how does it work?
Just before leaving for his sailing trip, Polarsteps co-founder Niek wrote a small script that read off his coordinates from a GPS tracker and sent them to a server via satellite phone (Ho, 2016). Niek’s website went viral among travelers, who loved the idea of telling your travel story on a beautiful map and sharing it with their loved ones back at home. This inspired Niek to further develop the idea (Ohr, 2016).
Polarsteps is an Amsterdam-based app that automatically tracks travelers’ journeys. Travelers don’t need to worry about internet costs, because the app uses offline GPS-tracking. Once Wi-Fi-connection is available, the app seamlessly transfers all tracked information to the traveler’s Polarsteps webpage. Here, the trip is displayed on an interactive map showing the traveler’s routes, key locations and photos. Polarsteps tracks a ton of other statistics, such as kilometers traveled. Furthermore, travelers can keep their friends and family updated as to where in the world they are by sharing their trip real-time. Users can instantly add photos and locations to the interactive map or do it afterwards. Thus, no need to worry about battery drain either. Travelers can also follow other travelers and explore their trips. Finally, Polarsteps offers printed travel books, which includes all travel routes, statistics and photos, turning travel moments into lifetime memories.
Efficiency criterion – Joint profitability
- Polarsteps automatically generates users’ travel story on a beautiful map which can be shared real-time with their loved ones back at home. Polarsteps also functions as a platform where users can follow other travelers’ trips and share theirs. Additionally, users can buy a personal travel book, so they can look back on their journey.
- The founders of Polarsteps are passionate travelers who focus primarily on helping other passionate travelers log their travels and tell their stories. Polarsteps wants its platform to enable travel organizations to create branded accounts where they can share their routes and tell their stories. The company considers adding features such as sharing the content on social media and incorporating booking reservations. Eventually Polarsteps wants to become THE app for discovering, logging and sharing beautiful routes. Other sources of income may come from selling travel books and gift cards. However, this is not the core of the business model (Tmoz.com).
Polarsteps has an extensive terms and privacy statement that users must agree to. It includes the following:
- Users are responsible and liable for all activity on their account.
- Polarsteps collects personal information provided by the user, information collected automatically and information it receives from third parties.
- Users can choose between 3 privacy levels: Only me, Only my followers or Everyone.
- Polarsteps urges users to think carefully about the consequences of using the Trvavel Tracker functionality, when Everyone can view their account.
Ho, J. (2016, April 25). A Dutchman sails across the Atlantic and innovates travel logging. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/04/25/polarsteps-koen-droste/#.tnw_1vxuPgmT
Ohr, T. (2016, March 17). Thomas Ohr. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://www.eu-startups.com/2016/03/amsterdam-based-travel-tracking-app-polarsteps-secures-e500k-in-funding/?via=indexdotco
Startup pitch: Polarsteps automagically tracks and plots worldwide jaunts. (2015, April 2). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://www.tnooz.com/article/startup-pitch-polarsteps-automagically-tracks-plots-worldwide-jaunts/