What do you get when you mash together the geo-social elements of Foursquare, the visual components of Pinterest and the crowd-sourced expertise of Wikipedia? Something that looks a lot like Pinwheel.

Currently in private beta, this new social platform allows its users to post notes and photos about anything and everything at specific points on the site’s global map. The photo component of the platform comes without surprise, considering that Pinwheel’s founder is Caterina Fake – the mastermind behind Flickr.

I received an invitation to join Pinwheel a couple of weeks ago and I have to confess – it’s fantastically fun. Streamlined, organized and easily usable, the platform allows you to discover interesting places and tips left by other users by simply searching the map by place, tag or zipcode.

Since joining Pinwheel, I’ve spent some time posting pictures, stories and factoids of local destinations and places I’ve lived, including some personal details of why I found the place interesting or particularly meaningful. I think this sort of “vox populi” perspective on places offers valuable addition to knowledge shared across the social web, without the ‘Citation Needed’ pressure of doing a Wikipedia entry.

Pinwheel already showcases a wide variety of notes and photos on its map, from deeply personal memories to tidbits on what spot is good for lunch. Just as Yelp became successful for its crowd-sourced knowledge on where to go (and likewise, avoid), Pinwheel’s potential for influencing consumers will, I believe, prove to be the most valuable function of the platform.

You can request an invite by going to the Pinwheel website here.