Every photo has a location—it was taken somewhere. For photo-sharing communities like Flickr, geotagging enriches the database with location metadata and makes digital photos more useful and relevant to users, allowing them to not only easily search and organize their own photos but better browse images from around the world. With nearly 50 million geotagged photos on Flickr, around 32 million of which are public, Flickr senior engineer Dan Catt was able to use Flickr’s open API to create a new feature called Places. Places is a zoomed-in view of a particular location and allows Flickr members and visitors to explore that location through iconic photos.
Catt is also one of the pioneers of geotagging, and he will discuss the importance of geographical information in photos and how companies can better harness this information in the future to improve the user experience.
Dan Catt, Senior Engineer for Flickr, has been interested in maps since the mid nineties, when he worked on a number of Kiosks and CD-ROMS for the National Parks of England and Wales. Mapping was put on the back burner for being too expensive in the UK, until Google launched their UK maps data early in 2005. Geobloggers.com was created with the aim of letting people share walks and experiences by placing Flickr photos onto the map using geotagging. Daniel created the first geotagged photo in March of 2005, by the end of the year there were over 100,000 geotagged images. He has worked with both pre and post official API Google Maps, Virtual Earth and pre beta Yahoo Maps, and can generally be found pushing the virtues of geoRSS as a way to share geo-data. Most recently, Dan helped create Flickr’s Places.