On April 10, 2005, Virtual Globetrotting (then Google Globetrotting) launched. Google Maps had just released their first satellite imagery two weeks prior, and our goal was to organize all of the fun and interesting places people were finding from above.
9 years later, Virtual Globetrotting has organized over 180,000 amazing places from all around the world, and is being visited by tens of thousands of visitors a day. We have a great community of people from all over the world with all kinds of interests.
In 2012 we had a good 7-year retrospective, but I thought it’d be fun to look again at some fun milestones and statistics.
There are currently 180,453 approved maps in the database. We’re nearing 200,000, which in 2012 we guessed we would hit on October 8, 2015. I think we’re going to beat that estimate.
Here’s the first map ever posted:
The 10,000th map:
The 100,000th map:
The 150,000th map:
And finally, the most recent map:
At the time we launched, Google Maps satellite imagery was primarily available in the United States. While US maps dominate at over 88,000 postings, there’s at least one map for every country in the world. Poor Norfolk Island (NF), with only 5 interesting places found.
California leads the US states in most maps submitted, at 21,000, with Florida next at only 8,800 maps.
After Google came Microsoft (Bing) and Yahoo maps. There are 58,600 Google maps, 70,100 Google Street View maps, 4,000 Bing maps, 46,000 Bing Birds Eye maps and a lonely 180 Yahoo Maps. Bing was the most popular with submissions for a while in 2007/2008 when their Birds Eye imagery was far better than anything Google offered, but recently Google (and Street View especially) continues to dominate popularity. We haven’t seen Yahoo update their satellite imagery in several years.
The most popular map with over 500,000 views is Will Smith’s house:
While the most commented on map is Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH):
Our most popular categories of maps are celebrity homes, including actors, musicians and famous business men/women, while the most popular non-celebrity categories are Events > Abandoned and Events > Movie Locations.
Virtual Globetrotting likes to have fun, putting on games such as Scavenger Hunts and Safaris. The 21st scavenger hunt is going on right now, called the Everything-But-Street-View Scavenger Hunt, and you should try it out!
I also remember having a bit of fun writing an April Fools’ Day Joke of 2011, saying that we were shutting down because we had finally “collected all 19,709 celebrity homes in the world“.
I want to extend a special thank you to all of the community members who are part of the site each day. Virtual Globetrotting wouldn’t exist without your enthusiasm.
The volunteer team of moderators that help ensure the quality of the content cannot be thanked enough. If you’re interested in helping out, please contact us.
We’re always looking for ideas on how we can make the experience better for you.
If there is anything you want to see out of Virtual Globetrotting over the next year, please don’t hesitate to email us or post a reply.
Nic, creator of Virtual Globetrotting