Back in July, Nick Pinkston and I were talking about how difficult it was to find businesses that catered to Makers – everything from milling facilities to Makerspaces to places to buy art supplies. With the right keywords, it was occasionally possible to hit on a place on Yelp or Google, but it was consistently easier to find good spots by asking friends in the community.
So we decided to take that community knowledge and try to bring it out into the open. The idea for The Maker Map was born.
We held a hackathon at the OATV offices, and a number of makers and software engineer friends-of-makers showed up. We focused on the SF Bay area, and got to work aggregating resources. We used Google Fusion Tables to store and geocode the data. There’s a repo up on Github for the site itself.
We know it’s a little rough around the edges and presently difficult to search. And that’s why we’d like to invite others to get involved, because so many awesome things that happen at hackathons tend to languish. There’s a Google Group for the Maker Map, and we want to encourage interested people to start by signing up there. This map was born with the community in mind, and we’re hoping to see the community continue to develop it into something useful. It’s an open source project.
If you don’t want to participate in the building of the map, but you’ve got a venue you love and you’d like to tell us about it, you can do that here (or by clicking the “Add a Resource” button on the top nav). We know the form would benefit from some design help 🙂
The greatest need is for a front-end or UX designer…there’s a rough left nav bar in development, and we’re looking for someone who can help with a UI to make venues searchable by zip code, name, or tag. If you’re such a person and can contribute, ping me on Twitter.
Thanks, and feel free to give us your thoughts on how we can continue to improve.