IdeaPlaces Allows Users to Create Their Own Personalized Maps

Montreal startup IdeaPlaces is about more than just linking a note to place on a map.

“What IdeaPlaces is, essentially, is mobile context creation,” says Jan Christopher Arp, IdeaPlace’s CFO. “It’s really geared towards people on the move.”

The iOS app allows users to directly and automatically incorporate notes, video and auto recordings onto maps.

To do this, the app integrates with Dropbox and Evernote as well as Foursquare and Google Places.

Arp says that for people who are taking notes and photos, or creating documents or videos in the field, the IdeaPlaces offers a better way to organize that data.

“When you’re searching for that information to create context, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. At IdeaPlaces, we take that needle and we pin it on a geographical map,” he says. “It’s very easy to use, it’s very easy to visualize.”

Ciprian Rarau, the founder of IdeaPlaces, says the idea for the app grew out if his personal interests.

“I’m a big note-taker myself,” he says. “I noticed there is nothing that fills that gap between the virtual world, the ideas, and the real world.”

He says that while there are tools and APIs for mapping publicly-available data, there’s nothing for people to map their personal data.

“There’s no simple tool that allows me as an individual, or me as part of a team, to map my knowledge and really understand it and have control over it,” he says.

Rarau has a long history in the tech business. Before starting IdeaPlaces, he was the vice-president of engineering at Montreal-based wearable tech startup OM Signal.

While IdeaPlaces can help users remember where they’ve been, it can also help them remember where they want to go.

The app allows users to create location-based reminders.

Arp and Rarau say tourists can use the app to plan a trip, using location-based reminders to let them to know when they’re near a site they want to see or a business they want to visit. Those users can then come home with a map of their travels, complete with their photos and videos already integrated.

Arp and Rarau are also seeing number of commercial uses.

Arp says real estate agents have used it to keep track of all the houses they’re selling or showing to potential buyers buyer, with the app allowing them to keep track of details like the asking price.

He says it also allows them to share those maps directly with their clients.

“They’re sharing a dataset, but you can even have private information that these users, [the] clients, aren’t sharing with the realtor,” Arp says.

Rarau says another client, who sells and delivers products to small grocery stores in New York City, used the app to replace both street maps and tools that he used to record details about his interactions with his customers – everything from the phone number to when he’d last made a delivery.

That commercial market is also a big part IdeaPlaces’ monetization strategy, the app is free to download but a Plus version, which allows users to access their data offline or collaborate with other users, costs $2.99.

The Internet has always been a valuable tool for context.

Ideas don’t exist in isolation; they are linked to a larger network of reasons. Twitter was originally designed by its founders to be a universal message bus, a place where the world’s thoughts would be collected.

It is the advent of hashtags, and the organization of that mass messaging that has allowed Twitter to become an indispensable news source, and a curated conversation on any topic of your choice.

It is the layers of context that Twitter provides to your thoughts—from location to timing to topic—that connects both the originator and consumer of Twitter content, turning a 140-character status into something more.

It is into this space that Montreal-based IdeaPlaces has found its place.

IdeaPlaces takes Evernote-created notes and automatically adds a layer of rich location-based context. The iOS application notes the location each note was created in, and when it was created, and creates an intuitive interface that makes it easy to search for each note on a map-like context. Each note is also augmented with information from Foursquare so that each location can be named, and placed in its proper context.

The application has enjoyed very good traction, garnering 30,000 downloads in a few months, and being highlighted as Evernote’s feature application.

IdeaPlaces allows for an added layer of rich functionality to the Evernote core with added functionalities such as location-based reminders a very distinct possibility. Imagine setting a note for yourself at a certain landmark of the city, a collection of your thoughts. Weeks later you come back to the same spot: the thoughts you had long ago are activated by the landmark and the IdeaPlaces application.

Maybe you want to leave a reminder every time you pass by your grocery store to pick up certain items, or maybe you want to leave a note that triggers every time you cross into your office.

IdeaPlaces can do all of this. This is an application that is built for the future of note-taking. It is built for a world where seemless context, and automated reams of rich data will be the default.

As we evolve from one or two dominant devices connecting to the Internet to an ecosystem of smart devices all connected with one another—the fabled Internet of Things taking on its form—applications like IdeaPlaces will take on more and more importance. Adapting it for the smart device of the future will allow for users to add as much information as possible without labouring over manual input, allowing for richer information that can benefit several layers of smart devices, and cloud applications.

The team knows the importance of being forward-thinking. Cofounder Ciprian Rarau was the fiest employee and VP of Engineering at OMSignal, a builder of smart shirts that can read biometric data and integrate it into a user’s daily life. The other cofounder, Adrien Niblock, has cofounded several startups, including e-commerce catalog creator and FounderFuel graduate Now in Store. Both of them are proof of the idea that a few determined people with a good idea can impact the world.

As IdeaPlaces grows, connecting information with the context around it, the Montreal-based team will expand their impact with their forward thinking. As the Internet of Things brings a thirst for more and more data points, IdeaPlaces will make it frictionless for users to add more information to a richer, evolving ecosystem.