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The story behind MapMyPHOTO

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Founded in 2010

Brought to you by: Will Nicholls Billy Hodgkins

William Nicholls found of MapMyPHOTO

MapMyPHOTO was built and is maintained by two enthusiastic photographers. Our goal is to help other photographers discover new and exciting locations on a platform that becomes a really useful resource.

The story behind MapMyPhoto...

MapMyPHOTO was conceived as an idea late 2010, it has now been around in reality for over 1 year in some form or another but has only been in its recognizable form for about 6 months. We are overjoyed with the growth we have seen and the coverage of the posted locations. The time has come to tell you a little bit about us, our ideas for the future and encourage you to share yours, after all we want our users to have an input into the future direction of the website.

The website was built and is also maintained by two students, William Nicholls and Billy Hodgkins (you can view our photography on Flickr by clicking on our names). We had no previous web-development experience before we built MapMyPHOTO so at times it has been a slow process learning new skills and working out how to implement them, therefore please don’t expect a polished website however we believe it’s still very useable.

Ultimately our passion for photography lead us to create this website. Before we were old enough to drive we visited locations within walking distance. Although some of these were great we soon wanted to explore wider afield. However once we learned to drive our horizons were expanded greatly giving us the option to visit locations outside of our local area for the first time. Although this was brilliant it also raised a few problems, namely where to go, what to shoot, where to stay? It was therefore as our enthusiasm for photography grew we desired a resource that would provide all this information in a user-friendly manner. After searching for this resource that we were sure would have already existed we were surprise to conclude it didn’t.

Of course there are magazines that provide some locations here and there but remembering the specific magazine containing the specific location you intend to visit isn’t practical. Browsing photo-sharing websites can provide some inspiration for locations but it’s usually a time-consuming process and rarely provides any useful information about the location itself (coincidentally I would like the say the key different between them and us is that we are a location-sharing website not a photo-sharing website). You could also participate in online forums but it’s not a very exciting way to find new locations and its success rate tends to be fairly hit or miss. Probably one of the best solutions is to talk to local people to gain first hand knowledge but again how do you find these people and then approach them? Hence MapMyPHOTO seems like an ideal solution, it’s all of these things and therefore when combined becomes a powerful resource for photographers: It provides high quality information about photography locations tailored to a photographers perspective, it allows photographers to share photographs representing locations, it is a social networking website allowing users to engage in discussion and finally but most importantly it’s a resource where first hand information about a location can be acquired or asked for.

The idea was originally conceived on a train journey home from Farmborough Airshow 2010. We had been to photograph the event and decided it would be brilliant if a website existed to notify photographers about local photography opportunities. Although neither of us had any idea how to make a website we set about learning how to do so. We originally built an ‘iweb’ website (see gallery below) but this only had the capability to allow us to share locations. Upon learning more, we slowly built a more functional website that allowed users to sign up and participate, this was a key step in the development of MapMyPHOTO and the feedback we received gave us the encouragement to carry on. Because of this I decided to enter my university’s ‘Dragons Den’ business competition and after much work and then delivering a final nerve racking presentation to the Dragons I was overjoyed to find out I and MapMyPHOTO had won receiving a small cash prize.

At this point I would like to say that until this day this is the only funding MapMyPHOTO has had and indeed it’s mostly funded out of our indebted student pockets! If we hadn’t spent 1000’s of hours learning how to build this website the financial restrictions of paying someone else to build it would of meant it wouldn’t of been possible, indeed the functionality that MapMyPHOTO provides would of cost thousands if we had paid someone else to professionally develop it. Our goal is to keep the core functionality of MapMyPHOTO totally free into the foreseeable future. However inevitably as the website grows a revenue stream will need to come from somewhere to just maintain the site, so although we aim not to charge our users for our core service we are offering a premium account upgrade, find out about becoming a Pro-User.

Although MapMyPHOTO has been around for 1 year it has only had its recent design and much of its functionality for around 6 months. We are both busy with other commitments and are often limited with a lack of time, experience or financial resource hence development can be slow at times. Please bear with us as we have lots of brilliant ideas for the future that will make MapMyPHOTO even better. So please keep checking back and read our blogs to stay up to date with our development.

We are really pleased with our location coverage of the UK so far, however there’s still lots to be added or improved. We would like to thank everyone who has submitted a location and would encourage those who haven’t to do so, after all a website like this will only work if its users contribute.

As we cannot afford advertising at the moment please continue to tell other photographers about the website and post links to it where relevant.

So that was a little bit about us, I hope you enjoy the website and will continue to use it.

Best regards,

Will & Billy


Click on the image below to look through the gallery.