Panoramio founders ask Google not to close photo-sharing site

The founders of the photo-sharing website Panoramio have launched a petition asking Google not to replace the website with its own Views page.

Last week, many Panoramio users voiced their disappointment at the news that the search engine giant will be phasing out the site, which lets users share images that have been geotagged with location data.

Read more: Google Maps goes up against Foursquare with new Explore Nearby feature

Co-founders Joaquín Cuenca Abela, Eduardo Manchón Aguilar and Jose Florido Conde said in the petition that by closing the site, Google would be displacing a community developed over nine years.

"They gave Google the right to display their photos in Earth and Maps. It is fair to ask Google to keep the Panoramio community alive in exchange."

The petition, which was published earlier this week, has already amassed 1,300 signatures.

Google acquired Panoramio back in 2007 and has confirmed that the site will be removed once the community is satisfied with the features offered by its new service Google Maps Views.

While Panoramio users have published more than 80 million photos on the site, it is still not as well-known as more mainstream alternatives like Flickr. The ability to geotag photos has also become less of a unique selling point as smartphones and high-end cameras offer GPS support.

The proposed replacement, Google Maps Views, will offer a broader range of images than Panoramio, which was geared specifically for landscape photographs.

Google has defended its decision by claiming that the move away from Panoramio will be gradual and that existing images, although not the accompanying comments, can be migrated to Views, which will also offer increased online storage.

Read more: Flickr gets third extensive makeover since Mayer's arrival

However, this has not stopped numerous members proclaiming their displeasure at the move, with many arguing that online communities are not as easily transferred as the images they took.