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There are many ways to go about finding photography locations, but if you’re struggling to find new locations I’d suggest giving ShotHotspot a try.
The standout feature of ShotHotspot has got to be the search functionality that they have built into the site. Much like Stuck on Earth the photographs they are using come from Flickr and Panoramio, but unlike Stuck on Earth and other outlets ShotHotspot allows you to search based on keywords, style of photography, location distance, and gives you full control over how strong the matching system should be.
As if that wasn’t enough, it gets even better!. Say you’re not exactly sure what the location that you want to search is called, but you have a general idea of where it is located on a map, you can simply draw a box and search only within that box for photographs taken there and still have access to the various filtering options.
By far they have one of the best search engines I’ve come across for finding locations to photograph, and with time it will only get better.
One of the problems with pulling data from sites like Flickr and Panoramio is that you rely on the accuracy of the photographer’s location data and key wording. ShotHotspot occasionally will ask for your help in order to help make the location data better. It does this through a simple “Help us Out” box that asks for various information about the location that you are currently browsing.
On top of crowdsourcing for location corrections, ShotHotspot also allows its users to add hotspot locations to their database and edit information about current hotspots that they currently store. This allows for a massive worldwide approach to finding spots to photograph, and determining which ones are better than others. As a user you can add things like type of suitable photography, best time to visit, equipment required, cost of entry or even a general description of the location.
While the search functionality is probably the best feature of the site there are a couple of other cool additions that only add to the experience. The first of which is that HotShotspot is directly hooked into The Photographer’s Ephemeris. This allows you to get information on sunrise, sunset, anything else you’d like to know about the location with the click of a button.
Finally ShotHotspot has also tapped into the gigantic database of Wikipedia for information about the locations it has in the database. Not every location has a wiki page so you’ll find some that are empty, but more popular locations will have a vast amount of information for you to browse through.
In just a few minutes I found two locations I didn’t even know existed less than 20 miles from my house. I’m not saying that this will happen for everyone, but it’s a great sign for a site that’s only just getting started. Check out ShotHotspot and then come back here and let me know what you think.