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August 28, 2006

Flickr gets (geo) tagged; why not everything?


Flute practice
Originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
TechCrunch | Flickr To Launch Geo Tagging Today

I don't have a GPS receiver yet, but lately, I'm fascinated by some of the possibilities they present.

Flickr is adding an official Geotag interface today, joining some of their competitors. (It's already frozen up Camino on my machine, when I tried to tag some existing photos).

The Flickr implementation, using Yahoo! Maps (of course) is pretty slick, making seamless use of Ajax, and determining how precisely to tag your photos by how far you're zoomed in when you set their location. I've tagged most of my "out of town" photos, and it was straightforward to set up, and to browse other pictures from nearby. It may get a little clunky when there are 5,000 pictures of or from Alcatraz, but for now it's working well.

Click on the picture above, and you'll see it was shot in “Cleveland, Ohio” -- if you then click on the “map” link, it overlays a hybrid satellite/map view focused on the specific location of the photo.

This seems like a component of the perfect portable blogging machine, one of my ongoing quests. The Nokia E61 and E70 have my attention, since both offer full keyboards. The E70's camera is great for a phone, but not a major factor for me, since I don't think I would be happy using even a good cameraphone for images that matter to me. My ideal would be something like the UMPC tablets, but running OS X, and with EVDO or another always-on networking technology.

For now, the smallest blogging tool I've found useful is my 12" PowerBook -- it's the smallest thing that lets me be reading something on the web, click a bookmarklet, and be ready to type a post with the link pre-filled.

Add in GPS, and you could automatically note the location where you took batches of photos, geotag your blog posts, note stores, parks or other attractions you want to be able to find easily later, keep track of restaurants you like or hate, and a million other things.

I know you can do these things in Google Earth, but that presupposes always-on internet access, and so far as I know, few (no?) standalone applications are supporting integration with Google Earth or similar apps. What I'm thinking would be great would be a system-level geotagging interface: One menu selection tags the foremost document with your current location, accessible through a geotag update to Spotlight.

There's so much going on in the mapping space (is that a pun?) -- what's out there for the Mac that's letting me treat it as more than another separate application?

August 28, 2006 in Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

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