Posts Tagged ‘flickr’

New Flickr shapefile public dataset 2.0 (find the esri type .shp here)

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

2971287541_27e6a06a21

An updated version of the Flickr shapefile public dataset (2.0) was released last week. From nils official post:

… We haven’t completely forgotten about shapefiles and have finally gotten around to generating a new batch (read about Alpha Shapes to find out how it’s done). When Aaron did the first run we had somewhere around ninety million (90M) geotagged photos. Today we have over one hundred and ninety million (190M) and that number is growing rapidly. Of course lots of those will fall within the boundaries of the existing shapes and won’t give us any new information, but some of them will improve the boundaries of old shapes, and others will help create new shapes where there weren’t any before. Version 1 of the dataset had shapes for around one hundred and eighty thousand (180K) WOE IDs, and now we have shapes for roughly two hundred and seventy thousand (270K) WOE IDs. Woo. The dataset is available for download today, available for use under the Creative Commons Zero Waiver.

True to it’s claim, the version 2.0 release brings added fidelity on existing shapes (they are becoming more conformal to the features’ true geographic shape as more human sensors perambulate) and surveys some more cities and significantly more neighborhoods. From a data analytics perspective, I wish the new version had the summary photo count and centroid XY per feature of the 1.0 version. But very excited to see a new version released! Image above by Aaron Straup CopeMore coverage of things Flickr on Kelso’s Corner »

While the dataset is distributed in GeoJSON format, that isn’t accessible to everyone so I’ve mirrored an ESRI Shapefile version of the Flickr Shapefile Public Dataset 2.0 with this blog post (~60 mb). Details on how I did the conversion after the jump.

(more…)

Exploring Place through User-generated Content: Using Flickr to Describe City Cores (Spatial Info Sci)

Monday, August 9th, 2010

screen-shot-2010-08-09-at-20836-am

[Editor's note: Good focus on vernacular geography, on how we name and describe space, with a particular focus on downtown city cores explored thru millions of photos on Flickr. "Importantly, it deals with regions which are typically not represented in formal administrative gazetteers and which are often considered to be vague." Never seen Flickr geography before? Check out Aaron's flickr shapetiles (map), shpfile browser, and geotagger world atlas.]

Republished from the Journal of Spatial Information Science.
By Livia Hollenstein and Ross Purves

Terms used to describe city centers, such as Downtown, are key concepts in everyday or vernacular language. Here, we explore such language by harvesting georeferenced and tagged metadata associated with 8 million Flickr images and thus consider how large numbers of people name city core areas. The nature of errors and imprecision in tagging and georeferencing are quantified, and automatically generated precision measures appear to mirror errors in the positioning of images. Users seek to ascribe appropriate semantics to images, though bulk-uploading and bulk-tagging may introduce bias. Between 0.5–2% of tags associated with georeferenced images analyzed describe city core areas generically, while 70% of all georeferenced images analyzed include specific place name tags, with place names at the granularity of city names being by far the most common. Using Flickr metadata, it is possible not only to describe the use of the term Downtown across the USA, but also to explore the borders of city center neighborhoods at the level of individual cities, whilst accounting for bias by the use of tag profiles.

Continue reading via their PDF . . .

Flickr Shapefiles browser (MapToPixel)

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

europe-300x222

[Editor's note: Also check out Aaron's WOE ID browser (the geography behind Flickr). The Flickr API returns both ESRI format shapefiles and XML / JSON. The monster dump of all Flickr shapes is just XML, however. Thanks GeoPDX!]

Republished from MapToPixel.

Flickr Shapefiles are a set of polygons generated from the geo-tags of photos on Flickr. Using the names assigned by people to their own images the dataset offers boundaries of loads of places around the world. The code.flickr blog has more info and details of their generation. The idea is that using people’s tags of locations to form boundaries gives a large dataset of where people think particular places are.

The Boundaries project uses Flick Shapefiles to show neighbourhoods and their neighbouring places. Other than that there isn’t a huge amount of examples on the web.  I’ve put together an example that uses ModestMaps and the Flickr API to display the Shapefiles in Flash. The polygons are retrieved using a bounding box query to the Flickr API, decoded from JSON, drawn and may be identified with a mouse hover.

Continue reading at MapToPixel . . .

The Geotaggers’ World Atlas

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

4622376356_d0e78bd1c1

[Editor's note: Similar to Flickr's SHP api, but discrete to groups of photos rather than places (cities). Data visualization sorts all the geotagged pictures by photographer and date/time, and for each two adjacent pictures that are reasonably close together in place and time, drawing a line between them. The different colors represent different modes of transportation: Black is walking (less than 7mph), Red is bicycling or equivalent speed (less than 19mph), Blue is motor vehicles on normal roads (less than 43mph); Green is freeways or rapid transit. SF version.]

Republished from Eric Fischer’s Flickr site.

(above) Paris. The cluster to the northwest of the central city is La Defense. The cluster further to the southwest is Versailles.

Continue to Flickr for all 50 cities . . .

Density (heat) map of world-wide photos on Panoramio

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

550_touristyness

[Editor's note: Neat idea, but not as detailed (street level) as the Flickr effort, post up next.]

Republished from Info is Beautiful.

Great places-to-avoid heatmap using distribution of photos on Panoramio. Nice idea! By BlueMoon.ee

World map color-coded by level of touristiness, based on analysis of photos on Panoramio. Yellow indicates high touristiness, red medium touristiness, and blue low touristiness. Areas having no Panoramio photos at all are grey.

Continue to view the map . . .

Looking for Legal Graphics for Exhibit at Michigan State (Infographics Alumni)

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Karl Gude is putting together a gallery exhibit of graphics on any sort of legal topic (especially graphics created by law firms for evidence presentation) for his Michigan State University College of Law. Besides the analog show, he’ll post the final selections and those that didn’t make the cut on a Flickr page. Due this coming Wednesday, 2 September 2009. Send them to nathaniel@kelsocartography.com and I’ll forward on to Karl.

Flickr Geotagged Photos as Cartogram Map

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

flickerdistribution

[Editor's note: As more cameras and users tag their photos on upload into the Flickr pool, we can visualize where users are contributing via the above cartogram and below as 3d globe map. The cartogram source isn't attributed, but I like how it breaks out high and medium contribution areas in blue and pink, and then shows largly unpopulated areas (but still popular to photograph in the Amazon's case) in green, and then ocean areas in grey. Or thats my take on it ;) Thanks Lynda!]

Republished from Flickr user Straup and RevDanCatt.

Play movie at original site, screenshot below.

flickrprocessing
So, here it is, 24 hours worth of geotagged photos (64,410) from last Monday, March 23rd. Our numbers say that around 30% are normally private, giving us a total of around 92,000 geotagged photos for that day, which is just over 1 photo geotagged per second.

All the data was pulled down (using Processing, of all things) via the API, and probably took around 12 minutes (when it’s behaving itself) as I was being a) gentle with the servers b) was getting it as JSON which takes a while for Processing to parse each page (more information here: blog.blprnt.com/blog/blprnt/processing-json-the-new-york-…. And then written to a flat file.

Continue reading and view video at Flickr . . .

I Am Here: One Man’s Experiment With the Location-Aware Lifestyle (Wired Mag)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

[Editor's note: Anyone concerned about geotagging and privacy should read this informative article from Wired Magazine. Author Mathew Honan became a geo-guinea pig by geotagging his entire life for a couple weeks and posting it live all his social networking site. Read about his experience's pros and cons. It might just change your life.]

Republished from Wired Magazine.
By Mathew Honan Email 01.19.09.
Image above caption: Mathew Honan: 37.769958 °N, 122.467233 °W. Photo: Jason Madara
Related article:
Inside the GPS Revolution: 10 Applications That Make the Most of Location

I’m baffled by WhosHere. And I’m no newbie. I built my first Web page in 1994, wrote my first blog entry in 1999, and sent my first tweet in October 2006. My user number on Yahoo’s event site, Upcoming.org: 14. I love tinkering with new gadgets and diving into new applications. But WhosHere had me stumped. It’s an iPhone app that knows where you are, shows you other users nearby, and lets you chat with them. Once it was installed and running, I drew a blank. What was I going to do with this thing?

So I asked for some help. I started messaging random people within a mile of my location (37.781641 °N, 122.393835 °W), asking what they used WhosHere for.

My first response came from someone named Bridget, who, according to her profile, at least, was a 25 year-old woman with a proclivity for scarves. “To find sex, asshole,” she wrote.

“I’m sorry? You mean it’s for finding people to have sex with?” I zapped back.

“Yes, I use it for that,” she wrote. “It’s my birthday,” she added.

“Happy birthday,” I offered.

“Send me a nude pic for my birthday,” she replied.

A friendly offer, but I demurred. Anonymous geoshagging is not what I had in mind when I imagined what the GPS revolution could mean to me.

The location-aware future—good, bad, and sleazy—is here. Thanks to the iPhone 3G and, to a lesser extent, Google’s Android phone, millions of people are now walking around with a gizmo in their pocket that not only knows where they are but also plugs into the Internet to share that info, merge it with online databases, and find out what—and who—is in the immediate vicinity. That old saw about how someday you’ll walk past a Starbucks and your phone will receive a digital coupon for half off on a Frappuccino? Yeah, that can happen now.

Simply put, location changes everything. This one input—our coordinates—has the potential to change all the outputs. Where we shop, who we talk to, what we read, what we search for, where we go—they all change once we merge location and the Web.

I wanted to know more about this new frontier, so I became a geo-guinea pig. My plan: Load every cool and interesting location-aware program I could find onto my iPhone and use them as often as possible. For a few weeks, whenever I arrived at a new place, I would announce it through multiple social geoapps. When going for a run, bike ride, or drive, I would record my trajectory and publish it online. I would let digital applications help me decide where to work, play, and eat. And I would seek out new people based on nothing but their proximity to me at any given moment. I would be totally open, exposing my location to the world just to see where it took me. I even added an Eye-Fi Wi-Fi card to my PowerShot digital camera so that all my photos could be geotagged and uploaded to the Web. I would become the most location-aware person on the Internets!

The trouble started right away. While my wife and I were sipping stouts at our neighborhood pub in San Francisco (37.770401 °N, 122.445154 °W), I casually mentioned my plan. Her eyes narrowed. “You’re not going to announce to everyone that you’re leaving town without me, are you? A lot of weirdos follow you online.”

Sorry, weirdos—I love you, but she has a point. Because of my work, many people—most of them strangers—track my various Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, and blog feeds. And it’s true; I was going to be gone for a week on business. Did I really want to tell the world that I was out of town? It wasn’t just leaving my wife home alone that concerned me. Because the card in my camera automatically added location data to my photos, anyone who cared to look at my Flickr page could see my computers, my spendy bicycle, and my large flatscreen TV all pinpointed on an online photo map. Hell, with a few clicks you could get driving directions right to my place—and with a few more you could get black gloves and a lock pick delivered to your home.

To test whether I was being paranoid, I ran a little experiment. On a sunny Saturday, I spotted a woman in Golden Gate Park taking a photo with a 3G iPhone. Because iPhones embed geodata into photos that users upload to Flickr or Picasa, iPhone shots can be automatically placed on a map. At home I searched the Flickr map, and score—a shot from today. I clicked through to the user’s photostream and determined it was the woman I had seen earlier. After adjusting the settings so that only her shots appeared on the map, I saw a cluster of images in one location. Clicking on them revealed photos of an apartment interior—a bedroom, a kitchen, a filthy living room. Now I know where she lives.

Where in the World
Is My iPhone?

To pinpoint your location, your mobile phone talks to cell towers, GPS satellites, and Wi-Fi nodes. But there’s a trade-off between speed and accuracy. Here’s how Apple’s handset knows where you are. — Patrick Di Justo

Cell Towers

Accuracy: varies (about 500 meters in our test)

You might think that your iPhone triangulates its location by using multiple cell towers, but it actually needs only one. After identifying the single nearby tower that it’s pinging, the iPhone queries a database at Google that lists the location of cell towers. That information is sent back to your phone, telling the device approximately where it is.

Pros: Very fast. Works anywhere you have a cell signal, including inside.
Cons: Accurate enough to find restaurants, but not for directions.

Wi-Fi

Accuracy: 30 meters

The iPhone can also pinpoint its location using Wi-Fi. A company called Skyhook cruises cities to map the location of Wi-Fi nodes. The iPhone sniffs them out, measures their signal strength, and reports back to Skyhook’s servers. Based on its database, Skyhook computes where you must be to have that particular pattern of signal strengths.

Pros: Fast. Surprisingly accurate if you’re in an area with high network density.
Cons: Useful only in urban areas with lots of Wi-Fi networks.

GPS

Accuracy: 10 meters

GPS satellites orbit Earth, constantly broadcasting an identification signal, their location in space, and the time on their atomic clock. The iPhone uses assisted GPS, which means it can tap into an assistance server and a reference network, helping to get a more accurate GPS reading more quickly.

Pros: By far the most accurate location system available.
Cons: Although A-GPS is much faster than conventional, it’s still rather slow. And because it requires a view of the sky, it doesn’t work indoors or in built-up urban areas.

Geo-enthusiasts will assure you that these privacy concerns are overplayed: Your cell phone can be used to pinpoint your location anyway, and a skilled hacker could likely get that data from your mobile carrier. Heck, in the UK, tracking mobile phone users is as simple as entering their number on a Web site (as long as they give permission). But the truth is, there just aren’t that many people who want to prey on your location. Still, I can’t help being a little skittish when I start broadcasting my current position and travel plans. I mean, I used to stop newspaper delivery so people wouldn’t realize I was out of town. Now I’ve told everyone on Dopplr that I’m going to DC for five days.

And location info gets around. The first time I saw my home address on Facebook, I jumped—because I never posted it there. Then I realized it was because I had signed up for Whrrl. Like many other geosocial applications, Whrrl lets you cross-post to the microblogging platform Twitter. Twitter, in turn, gets piped to all sorts of other places. So when I updated my location in Whrrl, the message leaped first to Twitter and then to Facebook and FriendFeed before landing on my blog, where Google indexed it. By updating one small app on my iPhone, I had left a giant geotagged footprint across the Web.

A few days later I had another disturbing realization. It’s a Tuesday and I’m blowing off a work meeting in favor of a bike ride through Golden Gate Park (37.771558 °N, 122.454478 °W). Suddenly it hits me—since I would later post my route online with the date and time, I would be just a Google search (“Mat Honan Tuesday noon”) away from getting busted. I’m a freelancer, and these are trying economic times. I can’t afford to have the Internet ratting me out like that.

To learn how to deal with this new openness….

And the punch line:

And that’s when it hit me: I had gained better location awareness but was losing my sense of place. Sure, with the proper social filters, location awareness needn’t be invasive or creepy. But it can be isolating. Even as we gradually digitize our environment, we should remember to look around the old-fashioned way. I took a deep breath, pulled back onto the highway, and drove home—directed by the Google Maps app on my iPhone, of course. And I didn’t get lost once.

Continue reading at Wired . . .

They Know Where You Are: Photos That Find Themselves (Washington Post)

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

[Editor's note: Two articles by Rob Pegararo, the Washington Post's tech guru today on using GPS with photos. The first on how to accomplish this with a standard digital camera that does not come with GPS. The second talks about the software and social websites that utilize the GPS coordinates embedded in the photo's EXIF data.]

From the Washington Post article:

By Rob Pegoraro; Thursday, July 31, 2008; Page D01.

Your computer knows what you did last weekend — but that’s okay because most of your other gadgets do, too. Your browser remembers your Web reading list, your cellphone saved your calls, and your MP3 player can recite the songs you heard.And most of us seem content to have all this sentient machinery memorizing our daily routines, so long as all the data stay with us. A little surveillance of ourselves can be fine if we, and nobody else, get to see the results.

Your digital camera may be the next gadget to upgrade its self-awareness. It already records when you take photos, and now it can inform you where you shot them as well. You won’t have to remember where you photographed each vacation shot; your photos will tell you.

This feat comes courtesy of a $129.99 device called the Eye-Fi Explore. It slips into a camera’s SD card slot like any other memory unit, but this two-gigabyte card includes a WiFi receiver that connects to a database of wireless networks to determine the location of your pictures.

Continue reading at WashingtonPost.com . . .

From Rob’s “Faster Forward” Blog:

The first time I inspected a photo “geotagged” with the Eye-Fi Explore card and saw that Eye-Fi’s software had not only placed the picture on the map within maybe 30 feet of the spot where I’d pressed the camera’s button, but also the copy uploaded to Flickr was tagged with the appropriate city and state, I thought “cool!”

But when I told my editor about this successful test, her reaction was more along the lines of “that’s kind of creepy.”

Technologies that do things you’ve never seen done before can be like that. As I wrote in today’s column, I found the Eye-Fi’s auto-location abilities more fascinating than frightening, but I can see how others might disagree. I was surprised, however, to see such limited support for geotagging in photo-album programs and the more than 20 picture-sharing sites Eye-Fi supports, including such popular sites as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, Kodak Gallery and Photobucket. Many of these applications either ignore the latitude and longitude coordinates Eye-Fi adds to the “EXIF” tags of photo files or don’t provide a clickable map in response to them. I expect this to change before too long.

Continue reading at WashingtonPost.com . . .

Privacy and GeoTagging Photos with GPS-enabled iPhone

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

flickr geotag example map

Being able to record where a photo is taken one of the key features of the new iPhone. Not only does the phone capture a great picture but there is no residual “Now where was I”. You can instantly see where the photo was taken on a detailed map. This is great for geocoding when surveying, but what are the social implications?

Do you want to share this level of detailed personal information?

Why wouldn’t you? Consider this:

Upload a week’s worth of photos.

  • One taken on the way into work of that cute gal you always see at your metro station
  • Another in your office for a coworker’s going away party
  • Another taken at your favorite dance club
  • Another taken at the great brunch place you go to on Saturdays and
  • Another of the pile of laundry you’ve been ignoring all week

Normally you are adding captions and keywords that someone who already knows you can piece together and perhaps guess or already knows where all these physical places are. But you’ve gate-keeped based on “you need to know me and know enough about me” to get it.

Up until now, you’ve controlled the information flow based on how much you tag the photo in the context of how well your online “friends” know you.

Related links: adding GPS locations to photos when you don’t have a GPS (one) (two) (three) (four) (five).

GPS tagged photos are game changing

Now someone who doesn’t know anything about you, and with whom you might NOT want to share that level of personal information, can instantly become your first stalker. They know exactly where you live, exactly where you work, exactly how you get to work, and exactly where you relax and have let down your guard.

Something to consider as an adult and perhaps lock-down if your child has a GPS-enabled cell phone.

Of course, if you’re on a tourist trip and taking pictures of Yellowstone and the Statue of Liberty and are never going to be there again it’s perfectly fine to include the full GPS coordinates since that doesn’t disclose personal information and you’ll not routinely passing by there again. However, if you visit Aunt Mildred in Brooklyn on the same trip you might want to limit access to her home’s location.

I’m invincible, right? What do I care?

Consider the following two situations:

  • I was at a friend’s house party on Friday and took a few pictures and was about to post them when it hit me: I’m potentially compromising her safety, not just my own. If I post those GPS enabled photos some random person could view the photo (hey, it’s up on Flickr for anyone to browse) and know which front door to be waiting at. Skechadellic, dude!
  • I have a swimming hole I’d like to keep on the down-low but when I go out there I take a few shots with my camera to remember the scene. If I post those on Flickr with the GPS coordinates suddenly anyone that views my the photo tagged “My secret swimming hole” can see it placed exactly on that blue map polygon and route directly to it. Not so secret after all. Oops!

So it turns out Flickr has a way to moderate this to an extent. There is a setting to control this, sort of. Screenshot below:

flickr geotags

Notice how I do NOT have this option checked. But my GPS information is still being read in and placed on my account map somehow. Bad!

User Solution 1

The best, fail-proof option is to not record the GPS information when the photo was taken. But then you loose that information for your personal record. The iPhone asks the first time a GPS enabled application is launched if you want to allow it access to the GPS. Press “Don’t Allow” and you’re set.

But once you have enabled the camera to know the location you can’t disable it until the phone is turned completely off and restarted, less than convenient and oh so easy to forget about. You can go to the General Settings area of the phone and turn Location Service on and off without restarting the phone, however.

iphone use current location

User Solution 2

There should be a middle way when uploading and displaying on photo sharing sites like Flickr. This way you retrain full GPS location for your private records but only let out an approximate public location for everyone else.

For the Mac you can download PhotoInfoEditor to edit the precision of the GPS coordinates stored in the EXIF information for the photo (or a duplicate targeted for public upload). I had a devil of a time finding this app as most simply report the GPS coordinates; they do not allow them to be edited. If someone knows of a comparable app on the PC please email me.

Notice in the screenshot below that I have stripped the latitude and longitude to display to the hundredth (39.35° N). You could just as well scramble the coordinates down to the 4th or 5th decimal position when in the city and still be in the right neighborhood but no longer be at the right building. Photosets can be batched adjusted.

This puts the photo in the rough vicinity of the actual location but does not reveal the actual location

. photo info editor screenshot

When you do this before uploading to Flickr or Picasa you can have the benefit of placing your photos on a map with some accuracy but just not with a high precision. In other words, don’t zoom too far into the map or the photo locations become inaccurate. But zoomed out they are perfectly acceptable.

How can software be improved?

On upload / display of the photos in a social photo site:

  • Group permissions for viewing Placename tags and GPS coordinates on map with default being NOT to show the geographic location but to apply limits of precision with individual photo exceptions as detailed next:
  • On / off toggle for Placename tags per photo
  • On / off toggle for GPS coordinates per photo
  • Placename precision (country, state, county, town, neighborhood) from Yahoo or Google geocoder as a slider control per photo
  • GPS precision (exact, 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 5 miles, 10 miles, 20 miles, 60 miles) for latitude and longitude as a slider per photo

The GPS precision needs to take into consideration that the number of earth miles at each degree of latitude changes. Simply chopping of decimal places is a crude solution. A more elegant solution would be to add a random ± X decimal degrees to the actual location at the target precision. Even though the iPhone GPS can get you down to 10 meter accuracy, sometimes you don’t want to be that precise.

I’ve already spoken to the developer at AirMe which is my favorite app on the iPhone for uploading to Flickr and he seems interested in making the required upgrades to his application. Please help spread the word to other developers!