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The Revolution is not YET geo-tagged camera blogged aka In search of Das Blinkenlights

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-11-03 00:49

tl;dr: Surprised by the paucity of real-time geotagged photos on flickr. People seem to upload in batches many hours after the fact. Still looking for a cool real-time geotagged picture feed so I can do some Blinkenlights info visualizations in a web browser near you!

Real Time Average Colour of Geotagged photos of 18 cities after a few minutes

12:43am 27Oct2010 Snapshot of 18 Cities Real Time Average Color of Geotagged flickr

Real Time Average Colour Geotagged photos of 18 cities after a few hours

8:16am 27Oct2010 Snapshot of 18 Cities Real Time Average Color of Geotagged flickr

Since 2007, I have over 50000 21000 (29000 non geotagged) geotagged photos uploaded on flickr from cameras most in real-time or near real time (a few minutes to a few hours after they were taken). I expected in 2010 that there would be many real-time geo tagged obsessive :-) photo uploaders like me. Enough to power a cool Blinkenlights info visualization.

Well I was wrong :-) Based on the info viz (geoTaggedAvg18.html ; github source - tested Firefox 4, Chrome, iPhone 4, Android 2.1 - each dot is the average colour of a geotagged photo uploaded to 1 of 18 cities, there are 24 dots per row and then it wraps around after over 24) that I did in Javascript and HTML5 even in geo-tagging mad cities like New York and San Francisco and Vancouver, people don't upload geotagged photos in real-time to flickr (and I doubt elsewhere but love to be proven wrong, if anybody has a real-time updated photo stream with lat/long and an API that has more photos than flickr, please let me know:roland AT rolandtanglao.com twitter:@rtanglao). They do it after the fact and they don't do many.

Probably because:

  • people are concerned about loss of privacy
  • uploading with GPS coordinates is too hard
  • GPSes are unreliable but getting more reliable every day
  • most people upload to social media ghettos like Facebook and Twitpic where most of their metadata including latitude and longitude is lost and/or not available via API instead of "full photos as social object with full-meta-data-preservation-and-APIs-to-get-the-meta-data" services like flickr

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tl;dr: Surprised by the paucity of real-time geotagged photos on flickr. People seem to upload in batches many hours after the fact. Still looking for a cool real-time geotagged picture feed so I can do som.. van hire london