As a passionate traveler and lover of natural and cultural heritage, I wanted to create a free, interactive, and user-friendly global travel guide that helps people find monuments and natural sites to visit around them. The points of interest are suggested based on their real interest. Most of the places offered by AroundUs can be visited for free or for a modest fee.
The goal is to enable everyone to discover the entire world, starting with what's around their home, without spending a fortune on expensive, time-limited paper guides.
Navigation is mainly done through the map, where popular places are presented in bubbles that are larger the more popular the place is. Zooming in displays more details and reveals less popular but sometimes more specialized points of interest. If you like a place, you can find similar places using the tags that represent filters. There are over 16,000 of them, ranging from notable trees to suspension bridges, through leaning towers and horseshoe waterfalls.
Unlike Wikipedia or Google Maps, which aim for comprehensiveness, AroundUs seeks to highlight the essential as our time is limited when we travel, which means making choices. AroundUs is therefore built on a layer logic and by default hides secondary places for tourism: businesses, schools, universities, etc. However, they can be displayed by enabling the layers in which they are classified. There is also a "Disappeared" layer that lists all the places that have been destroyed or that existed temporarily in the past, such as for an exhibition. Navigation in this layer is a journey through time and we hope that the site's contributors will share disappeared places and the associated historical photos to preserve the memory of these places.
The text and images provided on each place are an automated summary of Wikipedia articles (when they exist) as existing content on places is often either too long and complicated to read, or too short or non-existent in our native language. AroundUs chooses the most complete Wikipedia edition and makes it accessible to everyone in the main languages. This content is published under the Creative Commons license, like the original content, to allow everyone to enrich and reuse it in new projects. As this is a summary, there is very little risk of errors as AI's such as ChatGPT are very good at this task, although they are not completely excluded. AroundUs allows those who wish to modify and enrich these guides, for example by publishing photos of places that lack them, to benefit future potential visitors to the place. In this respect, AroundUs contributions in turn can enrich Wikipedia and other Creative Commons projects, creating a virtuous circle.
The carbon footprint of AroundUs is minimal as the entire service is developed in Go and requires very little CPU and memory.
There is currently no economic model for AroundUs as the site can function with few resources. However, if the site's content will always remain free and accessible without logging in, it is possible that advertisements will be offered in the future, for example to allow choosing a nearby transportation or accommodation. This will bring added value to users while ensuring the sustainability of the platform and its services with a quality equivalent to what the industry giants offer.
No login is necessary to access the contents of AroundUs and this will always be the case. The contents published are free and will remain so. The company that publishes AroundUs is located in Europe (France) and respects the GDPR directives.
I created AroundUs alone and with limited means, it is still incomplete and expected to evolve in the coming months, so please be lenient about the errors and oversights you may notice. I would be grateful if you could report them to me at jeff (at) aroundus.com, ideally in English (or French). Thank you to all the people who have given me advice so far to improve the presentation or content. I hope you will enjoy using this site as much as I enjoy creating it day by day!Jean-François Pillou, founder of AroundUs.