Flickring candles

Sep 15 (9) by theloushe.If you’re planning on taking a few snaps this Christmas with that new camera/phone, here’s a little bit of fun you can have with them…

Flickr is probably the best known on line photo managment and sharing site.  It’s free to sign up for an account, and you can start uploading digital photos within minutes.  There are limits for the free account (Only the 200 most recent uploads are shown, with limits on how much can be uploaded per month) but upgrading to the Pro account is only US$24.00 annually.  Whilst primarily for photos, since April 2008 video uloads of not more than 90 seconds are allowed.

Besides being able to upload photos, tagging plays a big part in bringing related photographs and their owners closer together.   Early subscribers also began to use tagging to geolocate their photographs, using longitude and latitude values.  Flickr has made geotagging much easier by offering a “add to your map” link which uses a draggable map to automatically generate your geotags without having to know the longitude and latitude of the location.


A very mature  api has seen some useful third party applications.  Suggestify (currently in Alpha release), uses geotags and flickr‘s api to enable subscribers to suggest the geolocation of a photograph not owned by themselves. 


Suggestify then “tries” to post a comment on that photo with a link to the Suggestify site where the suggestion is stored. The owner can either opt out or accept and the photo is geotagged.

Daily Shoot

If you twitter (oh yes), try following @dailyshootdailyshoot posts a daily assignment which is easy enough for anybody to have a go at.  There is a flickr group for assignments – an easy way to view other entries.


Noticings is a game based on flicker, geotagging and spotting stuff first. If you notice something out of the ordinary, snap away, upload to flickr, geotag it and then tag with “noticings”. Points are awarded on a number of criteria:


Noticings keeps a record of your scores so that you can see how you’re getting on. It also has a superfluas twitter account: @noticings. The Flickr code team are particularly excited about this one.

Anybody know any better ones?

The end of Argleton is nigh!

I mentioned Argleton a year ago, Mister Roy has walked there and even the Ormskirk Advertiser has covered the issue but soon its days may be numbered!

Google has announced a new feature to allow users to report problems and suggest changes to maps. It’s currently only available in the US but you can see how it will work on this video:

I’ll be slightly sorry to see Argleton go but I’ll be glad to have my childhood home back!

Via Webmonkey.

Location, Location, Location

Location-based services are – so they say – the next big thing. In essence, LBS capable devices can use GPS (or cell tower location if GPS isn’t available) to provide tailored information based on where you are. This could be the location of a cash machine, games or where your friends are.

In the last few weeks Google have introduced a couple of new services for the latest version of the iPhone operating system.  The first of these was search with location where a standard query could contain results relevant to where you are.

Google Latitude on iPhoneThe second news was the long awaited announcement of Google Latitude being available for iPhone. Latitude was announced earlier this year for several different platforms but iPhone was notable by its absence. It allows you to share your location with friends and see who’s near you.

The interesting thing about the iPhone version of Latitude compared to that available for other phones is that it is browser-based instead of a dedicated application.

It sounds to me like Google and Apple had a bit of a disagreement over this!

After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone

The blog post goes on to lament the lack of background processes on iPhone OS which results in your location only updating when you have Latitude open in Safari.

The decision to use the browser shows the power of the W3C Geolocation API and I suspect use of it will grow massively now that it has a large installed user-base.

Using it within web applications is easy too. This demo uses just a few lines of JavaScript to try to work out where you are. It’s not supported by all browsers, but the Google Gears extension adds support to desktop or laptop machines by using wifi hotspots and IP addresses to determine location when cell tower or GPS information isn’t available.

So now you all want to know when you can see it in action. I’ve still got a few details to finalise but I’m hoping to do some location tracking for my road trip across America. We leave on Friday so I’ll try to post more details before then.

Mapping Wikipedia

Google Maps Wikipedia
Google have started adding photos and Wikipedia entries to their maps. Currently only activated when using you can click the “More” button to activate icons showing points of interest. I was amazed by how many things are tagged but slightly disappointed that Edge Hill isn’t on there yet.

It will be interesting to see if this is a one off, or with any luck shows that Google are going to be making more use of microformats and tagged pages in search results.

Where Am I?

I’ve always had a bit of an interest in maps – I have a bookshelf full of walking maps – and so any time when mapping and the web comes together I find it pretty cool. Take Geograph for example – a project aiming to collect photoraphs of every square kilometre of the British Isles – it’s interesting to look around places you’ve been and see what other people think is important enough to take photos of!

Back to what I was going to blog about! Yesterday, and I nearly missed it, Google announced that their Geocoder will support the UK. There’s been a bit of a hack using another Google service for a little while, but this time it uses the correct APIs. This is hugely significant – previously the Royal Mail, who basically own the only source of this data, have charged a lot of money. There are companies who make this data available more easily on a pay as you go basis, but it was still a significant amount if you have no income from users or advertising.

Now Google will do it for free, on the client machine using Ajax calls to their servers meaning you can pass the postcode (or placename if you don’t have much detail) and it will pass back the long/lat coordinates and a bunch of other information about the address. So well done, Google, for negotiating an affordable contract with the Royal Mail, or maybe you’re just absorbing the cost in return for locking people into your system!