Mobile application - Neartrip

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Foreword

The "Neartrip" application is not mine, but Josselin Dionisi's. Given the excellence of his work, I asked him to publish an article on this site.

What is Neartrip?

Neartrip is a mobile application available on iOS and Android that lets you find unusual, historic and off-the-beaten-track places all around you. The concept is to be able to discover places close to home, which mostly go unnoticed, and to engage in local tourism, also known as "slow tourism". The application is participative, so everyone can add places and photos, as well as complete or suggest modifications to the history or legend(s) of these places.

When was the project born?

The idea was born at the end of 2017 and stemmed from a need I personally had in terms of finding places. An avid photographer and explorer, the question that kept coming back to me was "where to go for this? Where to go for that? "I then imagined a simple, intuitive application that would list all the points of interest available nearby. So I started getting interested in mobile development in early 2018 (until then I'd only been a web developer) and was trying as best I could to manage my time between a full-time salaried job and my self-training. In June 2018 I presented the idea of the app at the Canap' 3 Festival at the Metz arena with a simple "landing page" to sign up for the newsletter. The simple fact of "pitching" the concept in a few words to the visitors who passed by my stand reinforced my idea that this app had a future and an audience. So I started developing it in earnest using Ionic 3, and at the same time resigned from my salaried position to take up the challenge of working full-time on the project, as well as freelancing to support myself. And so, in June 2019, I presented the first beta version of Neartrip at a conference held at Puzzle Thionville as part of the "Empreintes" Festival on personal data and the dangers of the Internet. Following another successful conference, the app finally sees the light of day on October 15, 2019 in its final version, this time developed in React Native.

How was Neartrip developed?

Back end

On the back end, Neartrip is developed on the Symfony 3.4 framework under PHP 7.3 with a REST API created using the FOSRestBundle tool. Having worked extensively on this framework, which I particularly like for its robustness, my choice was already predefined when I started work on the project.

Front End

As I said earlier, the application itself was first developed in Ionic 3 and then I migrated to React Native. I'd read a number of articles on the subject, and as React Native is based on the real classes and components native to Android and iOS, it offers a performance and even stability gain for the applications. What's more, as I experimented a little before taking the plunge, I personally found the architecture and cleanliness of React Native much more pleasing to my taste, which finally convinced me.

Web

As for the web site, it has many of the same functionalities as the application. I started with a Bootstrap template that I adapted to find the best compromise between a landing page and a web application enabling various interactions. I wanted to make the application available on the web so that photographers could upload their photos directly from a PC, which is much more practical when using a reflex camera, but unfortunately not possible on Instagram, for example.

What features are available on Neartrip?

Geolocation

The application's central feature is geolocation, which enables you to display places that are located everywhere around the user. A list view and a map view are available to maximize visibility on the interface. Geographical position is also used to add locations. Current coordinates are proposed if you are on the spot, otherwise a map is available on which to place a marker at the precise location of the place.

Search and referencing

The Search tab lets you find places by name, photos by hashtags or users by username.

Below the search bar is a list of photos called Trends. It references all the most recent and most "liked" photos, highlighting them to all the application's users.

News feed

As Neartrip has a social dimension, you can subscribe to the profiles that interest you most. The news feed will then display all their additions of places and photos, allowing us to keep an eye on their activity.

Itineraries

One of the latest features is the itinerary system, which allows you to enter a departure and arrival city and see which places registered on the application are on your route. The route is calculated and drawn using the Here Maps API. The same applies to distances in kilometers displayed elsewhere on the application.

Lists

If you want to save or set aside places, for example if you're planning a trip to a particular country, you can add them to a personalized list you've created.

The business model

Neartrip started out entirely free of charge, and is still free today. However, we also offer a Premium version, which includes itinerary saving and the list system mentioned above. Neartrip also sells advertising space for tourism professionals (museums, hotels, etc.), crafts and heritage professionals (castles, local produce, etc.), and for the promotion of local products.), as well as for the promotion of events taking place in places corresponding to Neartrip's field of expertise, i.e. atypical places little known to the general public.

Communication

In addition to the application, which we aim to promote at trade fairs and other communication events whenever possible, Neartrip has other strings to its bow. We're passionate about traveling, so we're always on the move, which means we can regularly add new places and photos to the app to further enhance our offer. Thanks to my video-editing friend Sarah, we've also opened a YouTube channel retracing some of our road-trips and other exploratory adventures. This allows us to target another audience on another channel, with the aim of getting them to download our application.

Conclusion

Neartrip is therefore an application covering several related fields, with the vocation of constantly evolving towards the promotion of heritage, local tourism, arts and crafts. We are now considered a start-up, and are open to all offers of partnerships, advertising exchanges and/or commercial contracts that fit in with our business model.