Wih 3.2 Million Downloads Under Its Belt, Fotopedia Launches National Geographic Photo App

It was almost a year ago when Fotopedia launched its first iPad photo app which brings together 20,000 gorgeous images of World Heritage sites around the world. Since then, it’s launched three more (Fotopedia Paris, Fotopedia National Parks, and Memory of Colors).

All together, Fotopedia’s photo apps have been downloaded 3.2 million times. And today it is going to launch its fifth app called “Dreams of Burma” in partnership with National Geographic.

Dreams Of Burma brings together more than 1,000 images of the people and landscapes of Burma from Fotopedia photographers. The collection was both created and curated by the Fotopedia community, and then vetted by Fotopedia’s own photo editors and the editor of National Geographic Traveler. Like Fotopedia’s other iPad “photo books,” you can explore the images tags, swiping through, or shuffling for a random selection.

Every photo is geo-tagged and linked to a Wikipedia entry which you can call up in the app. And just like the Paris app, if you see a picture of a place you want to visit, you can see where it is on a map and add it to your itinerary. Other photos taken nearby will also appear as pins on the map.

There are no photos from National Geographic itself, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at the images, which are all stunning. Although, it seems like a missed opportunity for National Geographic to showcase some of their photographers as well. But there are licensing issues, since all the Fotopedia photos are Creative Commons by default. “We want to drive this industry to get to a new model better for the mobile space,” says CEO Jean-Marie Huillot. “We have to start with something simple.”

After experimenting with both paid and free apps, Huillot is leaning towards making future apps free with sponsorships. “People who take this space today will be the kings tomorrow,” he says hopefully. “You have to find a way to get the biggest audience you can.”

Huillot shared some more stats with me on how his apps are doing. Of the 3.2 million people who have downloaded a Fotopedia app, half are active on a monthly basis. The average time per session is 18 minutes. And the audience is truly international, with only 30 percent of downloads coming from the U.S., 40 percent from Europe, and 25 percent from Asia.

The two most popular apps are Fotopedia Paris and Fotopedia Heritage. Huillot wants to put out a new app every 5 or 6 weeks, which keeps driving adoption. One of his next apps will be a Fotopedia Cities app modeled on the Paris app, but with many more cities.