Flickr Mapping - baked in Goodness

The idea of geotagging photos is not new. With the huge swell of interest around mapping when the GoogleMaps API came out, very quickly people starting mashing up Flickr & Maps. Flickr even hired Dan Catt of GeoBloggers quite awhile ago.

YahooFlickr finally released their built-in mapping tools.

Here's how their mapping works:

  1. Go to "Organize" your photos, and then select the "Map" tag
  2. Answer the Privacy question - location privacy will become more of an issue with the rise of social location tracking, geotagging, etc.
  3. Flickr sees if you have any existing geotagged photos and places them - it appears to just use photos that have been tagged with geotagged and not read the location information if it is embedded in the EXiF. Hopefully that is something that will change
  4. Drag photos from the bottom well onto the map. Make sure to place the round button below the photo thumbnail. You can then add more photos to this stack of photos at a location. Also, place photos by the subject matter, not where you took the photo from. If I'm looking for the Eiffel tower photos, I don't want to see it placed down the Champs d'Elysee
  5. Photos now have a "Map" link below them on the photos page. You can also explore photos near where your photos were taken - so very social

Overall it's a very good user experience. It's nice now that mapping is baked-right-into Flickr, which means quicker adoption rate, and easier to get going with your mapping (rather than being relegated to various mapping utilities and scripts)

A couple of things I hope Flickr adds very soon:

  1. GeoRSS output in the feeds
  2. Add Microformats:geo to the photo descriptions
  3. Markup the location description of each photo in Microformats:adr format.
  4. Parse the Geo Exif tags in photos

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.