The Snap Map is a feature that received a mixed response when it landed in the Snapchat app, since it basically let you see where all your friends on the platform were at any given time – provided they were okay with sharing that info. Now, there’s a version of Snap Map available for anyone to view on the web, but it’s less about checking out where your pals are at, and more about media companies using it as an interactive heatmap for real-time content.
The web-based map features public stories from Snap Map, for the first time accessible outside of the app itself in a web-based overhead map view. Users can browse the map, and click on any available bubble to view the public story posted from that place (of course, being in Canada the first one I clicked on was from a junior hockey game).
It’s a pretty neat way to check out any major events taking place nearby, including New York Fashion week, a host of sports games, and even the Monster Jam monster truck rally in Pittsburgh, apparently.
Snap is also hoping this will become a resource for media organizations hoping to drive engagement and provide real-time views of news viewers and readers care about. There’s an embed feature, letting you quickly and easily get a link or an actual embed code for inclusion in your own posts or website. You can see an example of what that looks like below, but basically it provides a vertical view as you’d get with Snap Map in the app, which you can expand to occupy the full screen.
The map also shows the weather-radar-like heat map Snap uses to show activity from users by relative volume, even if said content hasn’t yet been incorporated into a public story. Embeds created from the tool will continue to have live content, meaning that users viewing them will see current information, rather than a snapshot of what was going on at the time it was published.
This seems like a far better use of Snap Map than the friend-spotting tool from the app, to be honest. The web-based version doesn’t include individual user locations, either – just contributions to public stories, and Snap says it had user privacy top of mind when designing the implementation.