my flickr photostream

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flickr Maps

Autumn Sunset
© 2009 Simon Hucko

One of my favorite features of Flickr (and one that I think gets overlooked by most people) is the Flickr world map. Type in a place in the search box and hit go, and soon your screen will start filling up with photos. Why should you care? It's great if you're visiting somewhere new and are trying to scout out locations to shoot. Just look for areas with a lot of dots and see what people are photographing there. You can restrict your search even more with keywords, or zoom in on a smaller location and re-search (you have to do this in order to get updated results). It's a nice way to see what people have discovered, and to find inspiration for your own work.

How does it work? Photos can get geo-tagged one of two ways - via GPS or manually. There are several different flavors of GPS tagging. Some cameras have a GPS receiver built right in and pictures are automatically tagged. Some cameras can accept an external unit that feeds the camera GPS information every time the shutter is clicked. Or you can separate the two, using a GPS logger and special software to match the time stamp on your photo to the location recorded by the logger. Flickr will use this information to place your photos on the map automatically.

Tagging manually is another option. You probably don't want to manually tag every photo you take, but it's very easy to do it with a chosen few (click the "add to your map" link next to your image). I've been using this method and it works very well for me. I try to be selective about what I tag, avoiding photos that have no relevance to the location (happy snaps, tight portraits, indoor shots, party pics, etc.)

Check out the maps. Look at your neighborhood, by your office, in the nearby park. I bet you'll discover something you didn't know was there.


On a completely unrelated note, I've had the awesome opportunity of borrowing a Mamiya C220 TLR this past week. It's been a very cool experience, shooting film on a completely manual all mechanical camera. Look for a post or two about my experience once I get the film developed and scanned.


[title of blog] on flickr


  1. You know, I never thought about using Flickr's GPS stuff as a guide for travel! Not a bad idea.

    Now I feel bad for being too lazy to geo-tag my photos, lol...

  2. Good reminder to use that feature on Flickr. Cool way to explore a new area, or to, as I think you suggested to me, find new places to go shooting.

  3. @ Kristan - it's a great way to get a feel for a new place. It can help give you a few ideas for taking non-standard tourist pictures, too.

    @ Matt - definitely a good resource to find new shooting locations. I use it for that all the time

  4. Ready when you are to teach you how to process process Tri-X 120. Crank up the D-76!

  5. @ Dad - can't wait! I finished off a roll yesterday and will probably have another one finished by this weekend...