April 3, 2020
The Local Guides program allows you to contribute and edit information on Google Maps. Since my
discovery of Local Guides, I have been a huge fan of it's organic process. Today, I am going to talk you
through why you should make the switch from Google Maps user, to Google Maps contributor.
My journey as a Local Guide began at China Ranch Date Farm, in Death Valley. My first 360°
photograph [bubble photo] was taken on their patio. Oh, the memories! I was still working with Green
Tortoise back then, and the bus trip I took to Death Valley was the one and only I got to attend while
Spontaneity sparked, and with a quick twist and twirl in place...wait for it...Cheese! [if you've ever taken a 360° photograph with your smart phone, you get what I mean by 'twirling in place']
Right there in front of the shop, and while everyone was inside buying date shakes [I got to try some,
don't worry], I took a spherical picture of everyone at once [although, it wasn't necessarily the people I
was photographing]. Then, I took that photograph from China Ranch Date Farm, as well as many other
photos from my trip to Death Valley, and I uploaded them to Google Maps. I used the same account I had
been using for years.
Within months, that 360° photograph had over 10 thousand views, and quickly I changed my username to
help market the blog I was already writing.
Since 2017, I have uploaded 515 photographs to Google Maps, and together they have accumulated over
2.5 million views. Every time someone ends up looking at one of the photographs, it says Spark Twain in
the bottom corner. Hey! There's no such thing as bad publicity, right?; or a shameless plug! I am helping
the world to travel by uploading these photos! Oh! And let get back to the 💓heart💓 of this article:
Google Maps Needs You!
Albeit I am knowledgeable on the Local Guides program, I still wanted to do some research on the
subject [and just in general get updated on the Local Guides news; if there was any]. In conducting my
research, I found this article, which touches upon an issue I have thought much about:
What if people use the power Google is giving them with the Local Guides program, improperly?
There is a reason you should want to contribute your photographs, reviews, lists, good [and bad]
experiences, as well as your knowledge of the local area to Google Maps. The reason is: if you don't do it,
someone else will abuse it! It's our job to make the world a better place by uploading to Google Maps. We
must outgrow the number of Google Guide spammers by using the platform how it's supposed to be used;
organically; en masse.
With half-a-million+ residents in Milwaukee, even a small 4% of them contributing to Google Maps
would be enough to give potential tourists a real chance at enjoying this city in the way it deserves to be
enjoyed; the way my parents helped me to enjoy it.
Tourism is a wonderful thing for a city to promote, and it unlocks myriad, enigmatic portals for the
occupants to travel through. Conversing with international travelers has brought so much knowledge unto
my soul! I cannot imagine life without those interactions, and the fact is, those interactions are most likely
to happen in world-class cities. Our Beautiful City of Milwaukee has a lot of potential, and as the first and
only hostel in the city, we welcome you to check out our home!
Okay! You're hooked! But you have some concerns, right? We want you to know we've got your back!
Firstly...we all know that COVID-19 is preventing everyone from traveling right now, but that is not to
say you can't start doing research on the places you might want to visit! Milwaukee, along with the entire
Midwestern United States, is a very affordable place for travelers. For those like myself who prefer to
tour cities for longer periods of time, say one month or more, the Midwest offers something the rest of the United States just can't.
Second! You might not even know what a hostel is! If you don't, check here to help widen your
understanding of what we do here at Cream City Hostel.
Personally, when someone asks me “What is a hostel?” I say: “It's like a hotel, but with bunk-beds.”
Our hostel is more affordable than every hotel in the city. Don't let the price fool you though! Our
community-based model allows us to keep a high-quality environment, at a price any traveler can afford.
Oh, how I digress!
Not-so-long ago, I loved taking 360° photographs! Until I got sick of twirling in place over and over
again. Nearly 10 months ago, I purchased a 360/3D camera called the Insta360 EVO [I didn't use
it for quite some time after I bought it], and it has made taking 360 photographs enjoyable again!
Recently, I've been back uploading to Google Maps.
My fascination with the Local Guides platform began because I really want to help businesses grow their
Google is a massive company, and normally I try to support small businesses. The tools Google has given
me to help my local community, however, are powerfully unique to their brand, and let's be serious to
admit that Google Maps isn't going anywhere. If we all embrace it, we can at least control it. The maps
programs that Apple, Google, and other companies are producing [and the restaurant reviews that go
along with them] are helping the whole world to become one, unfathomably large community.
Let us know in the comments if you are into 3D video |OR| if we inspired you to become a Local
- Spark Twain