In my work, I do a lot of traveling for shoots and one of the most tedious and difficult parts of going to a new place to produce a shoot is the location scouting. There is a reason that people can turn location scouting into a lucrative profession. It is very time consuming, costs money (gas) and is constantly changing (because of season, construction, whatever). It is a necessary evil in the business, and something I am all to eager to farm out to someone else. So here is where ShotHotSpot comes in. Not only does it have a simple premise, find cool (hot) spots to shoot, but it's potential is really unlimited. It has already proved invaluable to me on my recent jaunt to Nashville, Tennessee for an editorial shoot.
ShotHotSpot uses other apps like Flickr and Panoramio's geotagging features to figure out where good shooting spots are. How this is accomplished is anyone's guess, but I am sure it is some complicated algorithm that only superhuman geniuses can understand. To search a location is pretty easy. You just type in where you are going.
There is an advanced search to help you get more refined results once you get the hang of how it classifies hot spots.
Categories of hotspots include People, Landscapes, Panoramic, Architecture, and many others. These categories allow you to filter the results to what you are looking to shoot. For example: Yosemite has TONS of "landscape" hotspots, but very little "Architecture" hotspots. In my particular case, I am searching Nashville for cool (hot) spots to shoot for an upcoming editorial project. So I started off very generally and searched "Nashville" and this is what I got:
Now to me, this was pretty sweet. A convenient map with waypoints that linked to more in depth descriptions of the locations, including images provided by users. The Quick Key to the right offers a general name for each spot, just in case something sounds cool you can just click on it and head straight there. The detailed results are really straight forward, showing keywords for the location and a variety of images. This was the location that interested me most. I liked the idea of having the option for skyline views, but I have a soft spot in my heart for parking decks. The shot that sold me on it (enough to drive downtown to check it out) was the 4th shot on the top row.
I was pretty impressed with the location and it's going to serve my purposes exceptionally well. Here are some images (visual sketches) I made on my visit. I'll be adding these to the ShotHotSpot database along with a couple from the editorial. Just to help pay it forward, and get this awesome location the attention it deserves.
Now, for all that is awesome about this website, there are some noticeable drawbacks. One is that it's pretty contingent on users geotagging their images, and or taking the time to make an account and do it by hand. I know I'm not in the habit of geotagging my stuff. The second drawback is that the results aren't always that accurate. I've heard stories of the local taco joint being tagged a "Panoramic" hotspot. Of course with more users this should get better as I'm sure ShotHotSpot's results algorithm is based somewhat on the number of times a place pops up and what it's tagged with. All in all, I think this is a pretty great idea that can be an invaluable location scouting resource. Particularly for those of us not able to hire the professionals for every shoot.
Have you tried ShotHotSpot yet? What did you think of it?