A week late, but Happy 2014 everyone. To ring in the new year, let’s check out a great resource. Google has released Sightsmap, a terrific photo heat map that shows the most photographed places in the world.
The map is an overlay on Google Maps that allows you to zoom in all the way down to street level. The map is generated from images uploaded to Panoramio.
Not surprisingly, most of Europe and Japan are the hottest/brightest places on the heat map. Even non-urban areas, like the Alps, are bright yellow. New York City and Rio weren’t a surprise either. What did come as a pleasant surprise to me were the areas surrounding my hometown. Islamabad, all the way down to Lahore. This stretch was better lit than expected.
Much of Africa, western China and a number of other areas are quite dark. The inhospitable regions of Siberia, Canada and the Sahara desert pose a real challenge. However, the rest of the un-photographed regions could mean a nice opportunity.
For serious photographers, capturing the same old shots that a million other people have captured is hardly any fun. And this is especially true for travel photography. It’s always more gratifying to shoot something nobody has seen before and it usually means finding new, virgin territory.
Try to use this to plan your next trip. It could be an African safari halfway around the world. Or just a day trip to the nearest national park. This photo heat map should help you pick the best places.