Where it began

Almost exactly 4 years ago, I released the first version of MapToGlobe. The very first version was pretty simple and just let you take an image and overlay it onto a sphere, which was really all I set out to do.

I initially announced the tool to the /r/worldbuilding subreddit were it got plenty of feedback, including feature requests. So more features were added, stuff that was requested and things that I just thought of. I wanted it to be easy for people to share what they made, so I added things like Imgur-uploading for screenshots and gifs. Eventually, about 2 years ago, I added the ability to save and share that link so other people could interact with it.

Growth

For the first couple years, the site would get about 50-200 visitors a week and sometimes there would be the occasional small spike to 400-600 if it got shared somewhere on Reddit. In December of 2016, a link to the site got shared on the "A Song of Ice and Fire" subreddit, which bumped the site up to almost 1000 visitors that week (oh boy!). Then, towards the end of 2017, the site got mentioned DONG, a spin-off channel by Vsauce. That day the site got almost 26,000 visitors! Since then, the sites regularly gets between 2000 and 3000 visitors a week! I honestly never expected it to get that popular.

What's next

When I first made the site, I knew a lot less than I do now. That, coupled with the fact that features were added on mostly as after-thoughts, has resulted in code that is...quite messy. And that's putting it nicely. I have wanted, for some time now, to redo it all. But I've mostly put it off because I know it's something that'll take a decent amount of time and effort to do.

But that's what I've finally started to do. Rewriting everything, completely from scratch. The code itself is way more efficient, which means noticably faster loads times (both on the page itself and loading various features, like an image onto the sphere). I'm primarily focused on 3 things:

  • Fix bugs
  • Improve existing features
  • Make it easier to add new features in the future

And while I'm not focused on new things, there will be a few.

I've gotten a considerable amount of work do so far, but there's also plenty more to do. I am hoping to have a test site up and running soon though, and I'm hoping people will give it a try.

Thank you everyone!