Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Flickr and Geo-tagging

This has been in my edit queue for a week now, so you probably already know, but for those of you who missed this one, Flickr has finally rolled out native geo-tagging support presumably (mostly?) implemented by Dan Catt who went to work for Flickr back in January.

Geotagged images on my Flickr map...

Apparently tweleve million photos were geo-tagged in the first few hours of the new service going live, which doesn't surprise me, as I managed to tag my two hundred odd pictures in under an hour.

Although it helped that my sets were mostly geographically constrained, I can see other people being willing to put in similar levels of work, and I reckon I could have done the "next" two hundred pictures in a lot less time. However unlike some people I don't post stream of consciousness to Flickr, so I don't have another two hundred to tag.

That said the main slow down was the abysmal level of street detail that Yahoo maps has in the UK and, oddly enough, Japan. I had to pull up a number of places in Google maps, and then copy and paste the Latitude and Longitude into the Flickr interfaces. Which isn't exactly optimal...

Thomas Hawks who works for Zooomr, one of Flickr's main competitors, has written a review of new the geotagging support. He's broadly supportive, although he too mentions to poor European support, although he seems more concerned about export issues. Which, working for a competitor, you can sympathise with...

One thing I am concerened about is that Flickr doesn't seem to add the normal geotagged tag, geo:lat and geo:long tags that we're used to seeing. This would be useful for exporting the metadata and for mashups with other services that don't necessarily support the internal Flickr Maps stuff. Surely this would be a trivial olive branch to hold out to mashup builders?

Update: Can someone please tell me why the user who posted the Technology Review article on the new Flickr geo-tagging features to Digg seemed to think that the article was about privacy concerns? There is barely a mention of it, and that is mostly to say that there isn't any...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:44 pm

    I believe Flickr Maps interface is brilliant, but they ignore the the standard geotagging because the geotagging interface is not designed for accuracy, but for massive geotagging. Geotagged photos in Flickr actually don't have coordinates, in my opinion for two reasons:

    First, Yahoo Maps poor coverage for most of the World makes impossible exact geotagging. It doesn't make very much sense to care about coordinates when many photos are not exactly located.

    Second, it takes to much time to find the exact location. Most of Flickr users are not eager to do it, they just want to locate their photos aproximately in the place they took them.

    Actually they are good reasons and I believe that for some users and uses it's ok, but not for others.

    However I believe you don't need to can create a easy-to-use drag and drop system that doesn't ignored coordinates. We did it atPanoramio that uses Google Maps.