Mobile

SimpleGeo introduces location-platform as foundation for new mobile services

SimpleGeo is announcing a new platform this week as the foundation for new mobile apps that are location aware.

The company says its platform is the simple way to create a low-cost location-aware services. The idea is to make life easy for developers who are creating location aware apps, from maps to social networks, said Matt Galligan, chief executive of the company.

Galligan is speaking about the platform at the O’Reilly Where 2.0 Conference 2010 in San Jose on Wednesday. The key benefit of the platform is that it runs fast and can accommodate fast-growing apps where lots of users sign up at the same time. New services and apps can be operational within minutes.

The company already has more than 4,000 developers using the platform, which has been in a beta stage until now. The platform consists of the SimpleGeo Storage Engine, which is a pay-as-you-go system that allows users to store location data and perform location-based queries efficiently. The other feature of the platform is the SimpleGeo Marketplace, which lets developers find and use a bunch of location-related tools and sources of location-based data. The developers can access the data via a monthly subscription.

Galligan believes just about every location will take advantage of location information in the future. SimpleGeo recently partnered with Skyhook Wireless, which provides location information on the iPhone, to use Skyook’s SpotRank data. SimpleGeo is also partnering with data firms that can supply key data for a location-based platform. Those partners include deCarta, ESRI, Localeze, MetaCarta, Quova, Skyhook Wireless, Stamen Design, and Weather Decision Technologies.

Boulder, Colo.-based SimpleGeo has raised over $1.5 million in seed round funding to date, led by First Round Capital and angel investors including Ron Conway, Kevin Rose, Chris Sacca and Shawn Fanning. Galligan previously started Socialthing. His co-founder at SimpleGeo is Joe Stump, former Digg chief architect. SimpleGeo already generated a lot of buzz with the launch of Vicarious.ly, an app that uses a visual representation of real-time location-based stream of information as a showcase SimpleGeo’s technology.

Galligan said the company started a year ago as an attempt to create location-based games with hyper-realistic settings. But that proved to be too hard to make work, so the company wound up creating a platform for apps instead. Among the apps that are possible: scanning a barcode and uploading the location of an item. So far, there isn’t really direct competition, but location-based service companies such as FourSquare use technology known as PostGIS.

Galligan said his company solved some of the problems associated with location services, such as what happens when a user whose location is being tracked by one server moves into a different territory that is tracked by a different server. The company has 13 employees.

“The location market is really heating up,” Galligan said. “We think our platform is a great way to move into it and provide the context that an app needs.”

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