Tripline is a web and iPhone app that combines the powers of Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and its own tools to create an interactive itinerary of past and future trips that users can share with their friends. The L.A. based startup launched in August 2010, founded by ex-Yahoo employee Byron Dumbrill.
The interactive and embeddable Tripline maps appear like a timeline of stops within a country or city. Photos, videos, check-ins and geo-enabled Tweets can be added to each point as well as descriptions of activities and tips for travelers. Check out this recent Tripline, that D.C. based Croft Global Travel put together of a 6 day trip to Nicaragua.
Last month, Tripline released a new iPhone app. And today, they unveiled a slew of new features for Tripline 2.0, notably a Q&A style community like StackOverflow for travelers. One of its coolest features is the fact that users can attach Tripline maps to answers. For example, I asked: What’s a fun day trip to take outside of NYC?
Another Tripline user answered, “Here is a day trip that will get you out of the city to see some of the natural beauty right next door on Long Island. It starts on L.I.’s North Shore in Stony Brook and ends in Cold Spring Harbor …” and provided me with a handy map to follow, including images.
We think this is going to be a great help for all of you in planning your trips and we also hope it’s fun. Now you have a reason for you to come back to Tripline every day to see what people are asking about your favorite places and topics,” says CEO Byron Dumbrill.
While the Q&A forum is light on content for now, the potential for valuable information is there. Users can anonymously upvote good answers and downvote bad ones. The answers with the highest aggregate score will be displayed at the top of the answer list on the question page.
Other enhancements include an updated places page so users can “follow” their favorite places or topics. When you follow a place or topic, your activity feed will display questions about that place from the community so you can share your local knowledge. Also, the map on your profile page will display the places and topics you’re following.
Taking a nod from Facebook, Tripline moved the Activity Feed to the front and center of the home page. They’ve also added a new search box in the header. Speaking of Facebook, note that its Facebook app is temporarily unavailable while Tripline adds the new features.
The 3-person, self-funded company hopes the Q&A community will generate enough content so they can start pulling in relevant outside information to augment questions like “What are the best museums in New York City?” or “What are the top sights to see for a first-time visitor to New York City.”
Bottom line: Tripline is in a crowded space; rejuvenating the online travel industry requires immediate access to information, socially vetted and beautifully displayed. Maps are a bit tough to create- mostly because they’re time consuming. But if you’re an avid traveler who wants to share detailed trip maps, a travel planning group or a high school geography teacher, Tripline has built a truly great product.