We met up with both Victor Toporkov and Murad Nazaraliev of Vito Technology during WWDC this past week, and while we know the company's name well from their great Star Walk and Solar Walk apps (the first one won an Apple Design Award this week, and the second one is quite popular, too), we learned some interesting facts about the history of the company. Toporkov now lives in the United States, but the company has its roots in Novosibirsk, the biggest city in Siberia. Back in the 1950s, Russia created a scientific center out in the middle of Siberia, consisting of a whole group of nuclear and scientific research facilities. Toporkov was one of those nuclear scientists, and now that the Cold War is over, he and many other scientists in that community have moved on to creating various kinds of software. In fact, the region itself is now sometimes referred to as "Silicon Forest," in a comparison with Silicon Valley in the US.
I found that background fascinating. But of course, Vito is looking to the future -- after a couple of solid educational astronomy apps on the App Store, they're looking to come back down to Earth with Geo Walk. I first got to use this app back at Macworld Expo this year, but the latest version has come a long way, with lots of various nodes to browse around a 3D globe, featuring historical locations or individuals. The app is due out next week on the App Store, with an iPad version coming later in July, and Vito says they'll be pricing the app at just 99 cents -- it's meant for kids, and they're trying to find the lowest acceptable price possible.