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A 22-year-old photographer just developed a new website for scouting photo spots

young photographer develops photo hotspot screen shot 2017 01 12 at 1 52 03 pm
Mike Wong
A 22-year-old software developer and photographer is working to fill a gap left by Panoramio’s closure — Mike Wong recently shared a project on Reddit called Photo Hotspot that takes images from 500px and puts them on the map, literally.

The program, developed using PHP and Javascript, takes public images from 500px and uses any embedded GPS data to add them to a map, allowing photographers to browse for new spots to visit. The site has three main functions — a heat map that shows popular photography spots, a slider to sort out photos by month, and a filmstrip of thumbnails displaying images that are located on that part of the map.

The website is currently an experimental project — Wong headed to Reddit to gain feedback from photographers on the new project as he looks for ways to develop the platform further.

Since 500px uses location tags like “Paris” to approximate some photos locations, not every photo displays an exact location. And since the project is new, only photos uploaded to 500px since December are included, with the programming picking up new uploads every day. Wong says he’d like to add other photo sources, as well as additional options for filtering the results, including time of day.

Panoramio used to offer a similar photo map feature that many photographers used to help scout out new location. The site was discontinued in November, however, in favor of Google Maps. Many photographers say that the Google Map features don’t quite compare to Panoramio, at least in terms of scouting out new places to shoot. The platform, however, uses individual pins instead of a heat map and now adds photos using a Local Guide program where photographers can apply to secure access to upload their images individually.

Despite the closure of Panoramio, Wong isn’t alone in his effort to make scouting out photo locations simpler — ShotHotspot is a similar website using photos from Flickr, though its home page still lists Panoramio as a source, along with mobile apps like Streetography.

Photographers can check out the work-in-progress at Photo Hotspots and offer feedback on Reddit.

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