Why make another map when we can make a map maker? Mapduh began with this founding question.
Mapduh, a play on the phrase Map Directory (heh), in a short period has gone from a handful of Public Alpha testers to a mapping application with global possibilities. However, as easy-to-use as we made this web application, there are still challenges in that making a map requires thought, a little planning, original content, and hard work to make a truly engaging and up to date map that people will enjoy and discuss. That’s where the web and awesome people like you who love to create things come in. More on that in a bit.
Back to our conception. As far back as 2008, a curious and hungry developer got requested again and again to create maps for customers. The mapping tools used at the time were mostly built in custom Actionscript/Flash environments and were not designed for regular people in mind. Seeing there were no great point of interest Mapping Applications that made it easy to create custom maps able to contain embeddable media it was realized that online maps, though useful, are often relegated to directions and locations. Going on with their business until running into a related but even bigger problem again in 2011. Still there were no existing ways to create and share and follow the activity on “point of interest” maps. A major pain point for that project led to our invention of Mapegories. A way to categorize all those interesting markers. There seemed to be no existing answer. So the “founding question” was asked is earnest. After going into hyper development mode on Mapduh, the web application officially went into Public Alpha in Mid 2012. In more concrete terms, it’s a work in progress, surfacing new use cases everyday.
What happened is the solution for a developer’s mapping problem - turned out to be needed and wanted by others. How many others? We still do not know. But Mapduh is now an experience designed to be used for free by the public. Maps About You. Today Mapduh.com is part user generated aggregation of online maps and part social mapping construction tool where you can create (or Follow and Join) a map in seconds without any technical cartographer (big word for person who makes maps!) know how or skills. And start adding your places via the web or our forthcoming mobile app. Then amazingly, like a Youtube video, you can broadcast your map anywhere on the web you want. Powerful? We think so.
Today, Mapduh.com is a bit of a small potato, as there are much larger mapping services (some of which are totally free!) such as Google Maps and their awesome new My Places and Map Maker that have been improved upon for years. In fact we owe many cupcakes and thanks to Google for creating the world’s finest mapping software and toolkit with Google API 3 which we use. Thanks! So indeed there are other map mapping tools.
Yet, we think we have something unique to bring to the mapping space. Maps not just with markers and latitude and longitude coordinates. In fact we have differentiated from any other online maps with an interesting innovation. Each of markers has a page. These detail pages, all mappers to interactive content, photos, videos, and tell stories about places and add links to related content. In other words Mapduhs are not maps with markers, and info boxes.
This adds a lot of value to the viewer of the map. Adding content to a map can provoke thought and action, not just research. And ultimately maps people just like seeing, using and following. After all, every thing, every person and each event including the collection of human history and experience all share a relationship with a geographic place….somewhere…somehow there is a connection to a location. That’s a lot of information and we need help. So those are the places we ask you to map in your own unique way. We want you to map information about locations in entertaining, educational and engaging ways. Hey you, why not create a map about one of your interests or areas of expertise? Or a map of the places you know best or want to learn more about. All you need is an idea and excitement, and you can map, learn and have fun! We are here to help you succeed in your map making endeavors.
Please notice that Mapduh.com is under heavy development, and we are rolling out LARGE and small improvements e-v-e-r-y week. New features and services may appear and dissapear. Features may come and go never to return. We are building a mapping tool we love using and intuitively constructing and sharing it. For this we apologize ahead of time if we make any mistakes. However all of these “improvements” are driven by our Community of Mappers so please use our feedback form to let us know what you want or think as we progress.
Almost every aspect of Mapduh.com is free, and things that are currently free will remain free in the future, but we do offer paid upgrades for things like unlimited places and photomapping. How do we pay for everything and keep our prices so low? Mapduh.com is run by Mapduh, Inc. which makes money from these Mappership upgrades, Pro Mapperships, advertising (where necessary), and commercial partnerships.
NEW!!! With our new social framework around your existing maps, we seek to eliminate the loneliness of your all online maps, by letting mappers submit their maps and add a social layer for other Mappers to Follow and Join. We’d be overjoyed if you consider giving Mapduh a shot. Whether you are a pro or a beginner, we think you will have some luck and have fun. If you’re a current mapper and you dig what we’re doing, the best way you can help us out is to show a friend how to get set up as well. It also gives you more Followers (and Collaborators if you want) for your maps. We think there are about 1,000,001 factorial permutations of maps still to be added to our Special Collection so let’ get mapping!