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Renee DiResta and Nick Pinkston turned a challenge into a project. And now they’re asking for help from the maker community to help it grow.

They realized how difficult it was to find businesses that cater to makers–makerspaces, fabricators, and supply outlets. Some dedicated googling turned up a few results, but it was easier for them to simply ask friends in the maker community. They decided to leverage that knowledge and set it free. Thus the idea for the Maker Map was born.

Here’s how Renee describes the birth of the project and their need for input and support from the maker community at large:

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 San Francisco 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.

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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 without wider input. 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 design. 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 @noUpside.

Thanks and feel free to give us your thoughts on how we can continue to improve.

The Maker Map is a needed and ambitious project that will reflect the maker community in more ways than one as it grows. Check it out.

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.


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