Location data provider Gecko Landmarks announces $1 million in funding today. The Espoo, Finland based company provides location services for feature phones through text based landmarks. These landmarks provide data for application developers, who can then use location data for maps, checkins, and other services. You might think initially that this solution wouldn’t be too accurate, but this example on Google Maps shows quite the opposite.

One use case of Gecko Landmarks is providing text-based checkins, or friend finding based on local landmarks. If you’re near a shopping center, for example, Gecko can position you to being close to that landmark and return “Westfield Mall” for example. This workaround of feature phone’s technology provides a good level of service, and there’s just something cool about there being location services for phones that only display text.

Currently 80% of mobile subscribers do not have access to location services, providing a huge market that Gecko is able to serve, even as more and more users switch over to smartphones. The gap is the widest in Asia, Africa, and Latin America as 5 billion feature phones remain without location services.

On that note, Gecko Landmarks is working with Eskimi, who have built a social network with 7 million users, most of whom access the service through feature phones in Africa.

”Gecko Landmarks is able to gear up to change the location services industry where it is needed the most. We aim at improving lives of consumers with our customers by providing a universally understood solution that can reach everybody who carries a mobile phone,”
says Pasi Riipinen, CEO, Gecko Landmarks.