The Crowdsourced Travel Companion

Mj 618_348_the crowdsourced travel companion

With an unparalleled number of destinations available – more than 8,000 – Triposo, a travel app for iOS and Android devices developed by former Google employees, pushes the envelope for what, and where, a travel guide can provide for you. Although it doesn’t produce original content, Triposo automatically gathers destination data from the Internet’s overflowing world of crowdsourced travel wikis – OpenStreetMap, World66, and Wikitravel, among others – and consolidates the data into one contiguous, intuitively interfaced guide that is free to download, saving you the trouble (and the money) of having to wade through multiple websites while roaming on your device overseas. While we are fans of Lonely Planet, new editions of its guides are released only every two or three years (Lonely Planet’s Paris guide was published in 2011, for example, and the latest edition came out this year, in February. Triposo’s guides, on the other hand, are built entirely by the “wisdom of the crowd,” so they tend to stay more up-to-date as long as average people are posting recommendations on the Internet.

Besides just giving recommendations on nightlife, hotels, and restaurants, most Triposo guides contain a phrase book for the local language (with the exception of more obscure destinations such as Bhutan or Somalia), so you can ask for the location of a public bathroom anywhere in the world in all your poorly pronounced glory. Furthermore, if you enjoy sightseeing, Triposo makes it a treat by providing a list of a city’s most notable attractions, along with comprehensive Wikipedia-sourced descriptions for each sight, which gives any city the feel of a giant, interactive museum – especially if you plug in your headphones and use the Android-exclusive ‘Read to Me’ feature to soak in some local history. If you’re in Paris with Triposo, prepare to learn a thing or two (the list of attractions for the City of Light numbers in the hundreds).

Crowdsourcing can be comprehensive, and sometimes it can be careless, as in the case of a recent trip to Montreal, when we tried to navigate our way to the well-known music club, Foufounes Électriques, only to discover it wasn’t in the app at all. (That said, we were, however, able to use Triposo’s built-in map to find the famous smoked-meat deli, Schwartz’s.) But since the app works entirely offline and gives your location via GPS, we were able to browse ‘Nearby Places’ and ended up at a local bar where we were treated to a passionate (if uninspired) rap concert, cheap beer, a disturbing game of strip poker, and a lot of memories – exactly the kind of local, hidden hole in the wall that only a local crowd could recommend.

While the guides to some of the less-traveled destinations (of which Triposo has thousands) like Micronesia or the Marshall Islands contain far less content than those for big, popular cities such as New York or Madrid, the fact that dedicated guides exist for these off-the-beaten-track destinations at all – ones that can be viewed on your mobile phone in potentially low-to-no-service coverage areas – makes downloading Triposo a no-brainer for even the most remote trips abroad. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that Micronesians play bawdy drinking games, too. [Free;]

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!