A major new feature - Blipfoto Maps
5th April 2012
Blipfoto is all about connecting a photo and a story to a particular point in time - it's what makes the whole idea unique. But we've often wondered what would happen if those stories were also connected to the places they happened.
How would all our photos - which now flood in from 170 countries - look placed on a world map?
When a significant event happens and affects many people, could we tell the collective story in a better way?
Well, we're about to find out. The Blipfoto boffins have been beavering away in their burrows again, and we're delighted to be able to release a beta version of the next big thing, exclusively to our Full Members: Blipfoto Maps.
It's super-simple to use and fits in very neatly with the rest of the website. Here's the low-down...
Browsing the maps
The first thing you'll notice is a new tab underneath the thumbnail images on the home page called 'browse map'. Click on this and you'll find a very simple, very blippish world map which lets you explore down to city level.
If you want a bigger, more detailed map, click the 'Open detailed map' button at the top of the simple map. This will fill your screen with a full-colour, searchable map which takes you right down to street level.
Drag the map around, zoom in or out, search by date, tag or blipper, then click the big 'refresh' button to see what pops up.
These two maps do quite different things, so you won't necessarily find the same things on both. The simple grey map lets you browse recent content in the same way you're used to browsing through thumbnails on the home page (by date, upload, subscription, etc.), while the detailed colour map lets you look at everything, by date, location, tag or an individual contributor.
Only a handful of Blippers have had access before now, which is why you may find the map a little empty in places. But that's where you come in - once you've flown around the world a few times, help us fill it up by adding your stuff...
Adding your entries to the map
Adding your existing entries to the map is quick and easy - and strangely addictive. Just go to an entry in your journal, click the modify (pencil) icon and follow the instructions to pinpoint where it was taken.
When you upload a new entry, you'll find the map option on the same page as you use to add your title, description and tags.
Entries attached to a location display a small icon at the bottom of the journal entry page.
Your existing entries with location data
If you use a smart phone, or your camera is equipped with a GPS function, it's quite likely that you've already uploaded photos with location data embedded in their EXIF data.
If so, click on 'My Journal' in the left hand menu, then click on 'location data' at the bottom of the sub-menu. This will take you to a page which lists all your existing entries with location data. Choose which you'd like to keep private and which you'd like to make public, then click on 'Save changes' at the bottom of the page.
An important note on privacy
We take your privacy very seriously, which is why we won't show any of your stuff on a map without your approval.
For that reason, there's a new 'Maps' option on your journal settings page which is currently switched off. If you leave it that way, you'll still be able to add individual entries to maps, but entries you publish from somewhere else (by email, or through a third-party app, for example) won't appear on the map. Switch it on and any photos you publish with location data will start appearing automatically.
The maps are public, so we strongly advise against publishing anything on the map which might expose where you live or work, where your children go to school, or any other similarly sensitive location.
If you change your mind about something you've placed on the map and want to remove it, just go back to the entry, click the modify icon and un-check the box.
We do plan to roll Maps out to everyone (including those with a basic account) eventually, and are already working new mapping features into our iPhone app. But for the time being you'll only be able to see and use these features if you're a Full Member and signed into Blipfoto. (If you're not a full member and would like access to the maps straight away, just upgrade.)
That's it - go and have a play, and if you have any questions, comments or technical problems, please add them to this forum thread, which our boffins will be keeping a close eye on.