About a month ago I was watching a Microsoft webcast about API enhancements for Bing Maps and the gears really started turning. We’ve all used maps to lookup directions, do some reconnaissance of an area before a road trip, keep track of biking or running activities, you name it and there’s probably a mapping application for it. That said, at the time I couldn’t really think of any good mapping services for travel; services that would allow you to map way points geographically or by address, add comments, add photos, share with friends, etc. Low and behold, about a week ago Marc Anderson (@sympmarc) mentioned Tripline in a blog post (albeit completely unrelated to mapping). Tripline is one of those services that you may have never heard of (I hadn’t), but it is certainly worthy of a post and a little discussion.
A few months ago I talked about Tripit Pro as a service for frequent travelers to help organize itineraries, track miles/points and share their travel with family, friends and colleagues. In Marc’s example, he was importing travel plans from Tripit into Tripline to create a rich interactive map of an upcoming vacation. For the travel nerds among us this is slick in itself, but as slick as that is it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Today, Tripline supports importing from Foursquare, Twitter, Tripit and Gowalla. Using available geographical data, Tripline will construct a listing of all of the locations and map them using Google Maps. Obviously you can also create maps from scratch using search services or by manually adding points to the map. Once your map is constructed, you can reorder locations on the fly, add titles and comments to the map, and add comments to each individual location.
Back at the beginning of November I got an email from TripIt offering a free trial of TripIt Pro; the invaluable travel site that I’ve become addicted to in recent months. At first I didn’t think I’d care all that much about the additional “Pro” offering, as the base subscription seemed to do everything I wanted it to; boy was I wrong.
The base subscription gives you the itinerary and trip management side of things, which is fabulous. I’ve sent it airline, conference, hotel and rental car confirmations and it has never made an error in the import of the travel data. You can also assign multiple email addresses to your profile, so if you book business travel using a business email address and personal travel using a personal email address you can forward confirmations from both accounts to TripIt. The trip “sharing” isn’t incredibly robust, but certainly suitable for giving family or friends access to your trip if they’re planning to pick you up at the airport (as an example). So when that email came in during a quiet evening in mid-November, I figured I’d give TripIt Pro a try. The pro subscription takes the same base itinerary and trip management, and adds several robust tools.