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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Social Mapping, Literally by Whereabts

Are you the curious type that likes to know all the latest information? What’s happening in your city, wherever it may be, at whatever time you check? There’s an app for that, of course there is.

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Whereabts is a social geomessaging service about to launch this Friday for people on the move, travelling or just those who love to share everything happening around them as it happens in a way that shows exactly where things are going on. I suspect such an innocent description hides a possibly explosive app.

Based around a map instead of an updating wall of text you can see what people are commenting about in any area. Interesting art, a traffic accident, great street musician, protest, picnic spot… the list is as long as your imagination; the thing that ties all these shared updates together is that they are geolocated and time centric so you can see exactly when and where something is going on easily on the app’s central map.

Users can follow others with a specific “Follow” function which lets people see a combination of a message stream and map to browse through the updates of friends and interesting people even when they are no longer visible on the map.

The service can also connect into Facebook and push people’s whereabouts out through their news feed which should hopefully get the app more exposure and interest as people may not see the point in another social app, even one that’s primary focus is on location and time.

OK, now your first reaction was probably something like, “Oh God, not another social app. I really don’t need people having yet another way to tell me where and what they are eating or where they’ve taken their baby out for a walk.” Admit it, it was wasn’t it? Honestly so was mine, but thinking about the function and use of this app for a while I could see this totally being used in unexpected ways.

It might be difficult to persuade people used to sharing social updates on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and the like to use Whereabts; but how about Syrian rebels that need to share tank movements and sniper positions; journalists and photographers who need to know where the latest, breaking news is happening; rioters who want to know where the police lines are currently forming? Those types of important, up to the second, location based piece of news, those seem perfect for an app like this that displays all its updates geotagged with where they are happening.

Of course maybe it’s just my wild imagination but perhaps there is a place for a geolocated, social messaging service, and an interesting place at that. Whereabts Ltd, a part of the Aalto Start-Up Centre, is a young start-up company founded early this year, let’s see where this app takes them. If you have any other cool ideas for what this app could be used for let us know in the comments below.

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