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Owned by Google, Panoramio is a photo sharing site with a bit of a difference. It’s essentially a large community photo project, where the members attempt to map the world in snapshots of various landscapes and scenes. This isn’t a site where you’ll find photos of people, but rather of buildings, fields and vistas, natural phenomenon and more.
When you load up the site you’re presented with a huge map. You can explore it manually or search for a particular place. From there you’re presented with several key locations and the photos taken in those areas. The clever thing is that you can add your own photos when you’re on the move. This creates a kind of interactive catalog of sites all around the globe.
Panoramio.com will appeal to photographers who enjoy taking landscapes rather than portraits. There are a lot of beautiful images, some of which are chosen by Google to become the main image for a particular area.
Panoramio is a great addition to Google Maps. For some people, Panoramio is helpful when doing some reconnaissance of an area before visiting. For other people, it comes to the rescue when they are desperately trying to remember the name of a castle they visited, while on holiday in Scotland, many years ago. Using Panoramio, one can explore the landscape and quickly see a picture of the mystery castle with its flag, emblazoned with that amazing crest, flying high in the cold northern winds.
Uploading your photos is simple: you just need an account, then you can link it to your phone, or upload via your desktop. You can tag each photo to identify its location, and it’s then added to the large catalog of images of that location.
Members can comment on each other’s photos, which is a good way to get motivated and to meet other people online. You can also build a list of your favorite photos, and follow the members whose photography you like most.
Beyond that, though, there’s little to Panoramio.com. You can capture and store photos online which aren’t strictly map-based, but the limit is 2GB. Other limits prohibit the upload of very large files (the maximum per image is 25MB), so if you want to take really high definition photos, you may wish to look elsewhere for storage.
This site is free to use, and quite intuitive. It can seem a bit chaotic at times but you soon get used to the layout and how things function. It won’t be useful for producing gifts, or for storing regular photos of special events or people in your life, but if you like landscape photography then it’s worth checking out.
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