Expedb - The Expedition Database - It started 10 years ago

Nov 27, 2020 6:26 pm

Dear all,

Thank you for registering to this newsletter. I feel I should have started it many years ago. Experience is something you get over time and it is finally here.

I wanted to do more than a "test email / newsletter" so I must give you more than that. So, what is Expedb really and what is the vision?

Quick History.

In October 2008, I went to my first film festival in Dijon, France. Three days of films and meeting adventurers and explorers. I was showcasing my desert cart, the Camwheel (Camel-on-Wheels). I used this cart for the World First crossing of the length of the Simpson desert during the austral winter of 2008 (video).

I asked the festival organizer 1 question: How can I be sure I did a world first, is there somewhere a list of all expeditions done? I had asked The Explorers Club, the Royal Geographic Society, La Societé des Explorateurs Français, searched the web in many languages I know and the Australians told me I was the first based on the experts who advised me.

She said I could not imagine how much work it would require to do this work.

I don't remember when I decided to start and why. I created an excel file and started to add data for people: name, firstname, nationality, website, famous for, comments. I uploaded the file in GoogleSheet on Nov 24, 2010 so I consider this the anniversary date of the project. The only date I can prove.

In 2015, a friend developer and I worked 5 days to make a first version online and I started paying a developer to improve it in 2018. For several reasons, the progress is hard and I currently need to find also a job to continue investing in the project.

But for sure I won't give up as the demo's done + the 10 years of work (thousands of hours) have proven me that WE, explorers, adventurers and scientists need a better tool to find and share relevant expedition information.

How does Expedb work?

The main difference with wikipedia is that the data is STRUCTURED. It allows:

  • to have very specific search criterias
  • to read the information on the page of someone or an expedition, the same way for everyone, so a win of time to find the information we want.

The data has to be VALIDATED (curated). This allows to avoid (never 100%, mistakes will happen) fake profiles or fake expeditions for those who claim "records". In my years of compiling data I have encountered liars and even people who managed to get a wikipedia page or sponsors based on ZERO real "remarkable" expeditions done.

I struggled at a time with the definition of an expedition... and it is in fact subjective with a few criteria coming to 1 short word. To be in Expedb, the expedition must be remarkable.

Let's take examples:

  • Two friends go cycling 20.000 km from London to Sydney. Most of us would consider it a valid expedition. What now if 2 people cycle 1.100km from Paris to Berlin. How many km of distance would qualify for an expedition? What now if a solo person cycles 1.000 km during the winter in Siberia? In this case distance alone is not a good criteria to consider an expedition.
  • Climbing Mont Blanc in France is not regarded as an expedition today but climbing it 200 years ago was something remarkable.

I want Expedb to remain free and readable without a user account. Why?

  • There are laws about data privacy and data protection, the more user accounts, the more responsibilities.
  • I want kids to be able to read and get inspired without being tracked
  • I want people in "poorer" countries to be able to read without paying (example) a $49 per year to read.


  • User account? What for. Well, with a user account you will be able to save pages (person, expedition...) in favorites to find information back. With a user account, a person can be promote to contributor and start adding data to the database.
  • What if you climbed Mont Blanc or paddled 3 days on the Amazon river and you want to have this on your Expedb page? Well, a few years ago, I came up with a solution for it. It is called Tripdb, see it as an outdoor-travel-trips CV for everyone. No validation there so you can even add a 5km loop roller skating or a family holiday in Greece to remember when you were there and what exactly you did during that holiday. The Tripdb newsletter is here.
  • Expedb will be in several languages starting with FR and EN.
  • Who is the first person entered in Expedb? Oskar Speck
  • Old explorers included? Yes of course: Alexander the Great, Magellan, Amundsen... I found an expedition in 3000 B.C. and I'm in touch with historians/researchers to define the "ages of exploration / discovery"
  • Quality information needs money, so there are several business models possible. Donations, Advertisement...

What's next?

I hope 2021 to be a better year for Expedb. There's still developments and testing needed before the public launch. The main "metric" is that I will open it once there are 500 bios of people completed and 1000 expeditions added. Currently it has over 2000 people in the database but some profiles are just a name and a nationality. I call these people the "first 500 explorers".

I hope the next newsletter will be including something like: New features and testing are done. I need now 500 explorers, please share. Not the case today.

Louis-Philippe Loncke, Chief Explorer Officer of Expedb :)