A location-based service designed to track the physical location of friends on Facebook has taken honours in Sensis’s WhereIs mapping mash-up competition.

Net Ventures, a Sydney-based development outfit built the winning application, dubbed “Shout Out” and snagged a AU$15,000 cash prize from Sensis.

The Shout Out application is designed to be used by mobile users who want to find out what their friends are doing, where they are located, and possibly meet up. The application works as a stand-alone product and can also tie into Facebook, the popular social networking platform.

“I would have been disappointed if we didn’t win,” Antonio Smith from Net Ventures said about the result.

“We put in a lot of time and effort into the application and think it’s a lot of fun”.

While the service exposes the close, but not exact, physical location of users, Smith said the application had been built with privacy and security at the forefront.

“Some people already call Facebook Stalkbook, so we’ve made sure users who want to use the application can set up the privacy settings accordingly”.

The competition, opened only to Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) members, was sponsored by Sensis to promote its new WhereIs developer API which is currently in beta but scheduled to be publicly available in April to coincide with a scheduled re-vamp of the WhereIs Web site. The competition was judged by industry experts who looked at the application’s innovation, design and user-interface, and commercial merits.

Anthony Reed, senior product manager, WhereIs, said he might have wanted to see more applications submitted for the competition but was impressed by the quality of the entries and some of the original ideas that came out of the competition.

“For Sensis this was about the quality of the entrants during our beta phase and we saw some great original applications built.”

The competition started in November with approximately 70 companies/individuals registering their interest. By February around 20 entries were submitted, with five making it to the final stage. In second place was a “Heat Map” application written by Clear Blue Day that took home AU$10,000 cash. Third place was taken out by Mark Kemper with the “Wot’s for Lunch” application, fourth place was Jean-Jacques Halans with the Mapanui application, and fifth prize was snapped up by Lemonade with an app called “Satellite Stories”.

Photos: Sensis Mash-up competition winners

Winners are grinners. Net Ventures take the AU$15,000 first prize award at the AIMIA event.