ANTARCTICA XXI Travel & Tourism

ANTARCTICA XXI provides travel expeditions to the world’s most southern continent. The company relies on the richness of its photo and metadata archives to inspire travel agent partners and customer prospects because, let’s face it, Antarctica isn’t a place you visit on a whim. But building those archives takes time, and time is in short supply for this small company. Needed was a simple digital asset management solution that could be up and running fast, and remain maintenance-free over time.

The Challenge

Unlike other travel organizations of its size, ANTARCTICA XXI operates globally for one good reason.

“You don’t just find Antarctica experts anywhere,” explained operations manager, Diana Galimberti, Vice President of Operations and Product for the Chilean company. “We have guides and experts all over the world, but we need to share and collaborate as if we are in the same office.”

ANTARCTICA XXI has the global content sharing requirements of a multinational, but without the staff, budget or will to conquer complex enterprise software—at least not today.

“We have staff in Chile, France, Canada and Italy,” Galimberti explained. “We take photos in Antarctica, collect and categorize them in France, and then distribute them everywhere.”

ANTARCTICA XXI uses aircraft, ships and various ground vehicles to shuttle passengers where they need to go.  (c) Daniel Dietz

It actually could have been a simple operation, had it not been for two key considerations: usage rights and metadata integrity.

“Some photos are taken by our photographers but others are taken by our passengers—we need to keep track of who took what,” Galimberti said.

Also important is metadata tagging, which isn’t something that just anyone can do.

“To most people, the content of Antarctica just looks like ice and penguins. Our tagging requires the expertise of someone who knows the region, and that man is in France.”

The Solution

The Picturepark Cloud offers the simplicity ANTARCTICA XXI hoped for, while offering the global access, sharing and routing options the company needs.

“We looked at other DAM systems, but when we told those vendors about our business processes, they presented us with complex systems that would have required far too much configuration and training. Our business is Antarctic expeditions, not digital asset management. We didn’t want a DAM system that would consume us.”

The vistas seen by ANTARCTICA XXI passengers are like no others they’re likely to see again, once they return to “civilization.”  (c) Nicolas Gildemeister B. – NGB Photo

A Cloud-based DAM enables ANTARCTICA XXI employees and travel partners to access digital asset collections from virtually anywhere they need. It requires no infrastructure or maintenance investment, and the ongoing cost is affordable.

Best of all, said Galimberti, Picturepark enables her company to build the taxonomy it needs to differentiate between all those penguins and the ice sculptures upon which they pose for fans.

“There is no proper shot angle in Antarctica,” Galimberti explained. You are surrounded by a 360-degree view that is massive, impressive and cannot be captured by a camera. Yet, we rely on those photos to sell expeditions. So the metadata we add must enhance the photos to convey just how rich the Antarctic region is.”

Picturepark partner Carey Digital showed ANTARCTICA XXI’s French subject matter expert how he could build the taxonomy he needed. This saves ANTARCTICA XXI from having to rely on services to make the changes they’ll need over time.

“Our taxonomy grows as we add more and more content to Picturepark, so this had to be easily flexible for us.”

Ice-water sports, including kayaking, rafting and even swimming, are all part of the experience. (c) Ruslan Eliseev

Goals and Plans

Though images will remain the company’s primary focus, video comes next.

“We know that we will soon need to manage video as we do images, today—but not yet. Still, it was important to us that Picturepark could do this.”

Also planned for the future is the management of the office and legal documents that drive the company’s business side.

With regard to their satisfaction with Picturepark, Galimberti concludes:

“I’m a critical person, but there is nothing about Picturepark that I would change. It works and it is not complicated. And this is all we need.”

Rafting inset image copyright Jonathan Zaccaria; Flag-waving inset image copyright Sandra Walser