Prelude: TechCrunch says 'Flickr continues to rock along, with 4.5 million registered users and 17 million unique visitors per month. They have just under 230 million total photos uploaded and 900,000 new photos are uploaded daily on average'.
And after that, the stats for geo-tagging (launched 28 August) are still amazing! '24 hours in, there were 1,234,384 geotagged photos (and now more than 1.6 million geotagged photos as I write this, about 9 hours later)' — Stewart Butterfield, Flickr blog.
But how much more impressive is this (all from Stewart Butterfield's posting):
One of the "little" things that was incredibly complex technically was the integration of location-based searching into our existing tag and text-based search technology. That means you can do things like search for photos matching "food" in southern Asia or architecture in South America. … marrying "traditional" search with spatial search in a real-time context is extremely hard, especially at our volumes and rate of growth. More than 228,000,000 photos have been uploaded, with over a million new photos being added on a good day. There are billions of bits of data that go into the search (more than half a billion tags alone), along with privacy controls, group membership, and so on. This is one of the largest real-time search indexes in the world. In contrast, nearly all web search is done in a "batch" mode with periodic updates, while nearly all real time search is done on a small set of items which "expire" after a short period. But new or updated Flickr photos are typically searchable in under a minute.
… today we're also releasing extensions to Flickr's API to enable adding and retrieving geo information, setting privacy permissions, and searching by location: everything you need to roll your own. … This also means: "hey, if our maps don't work for you, use whatever maps you'd like!"
… if you take a photo "near" an Upcoming.org event (in time and space), it'll automatically get tagged with the correct Upcoming event and show up on the corresponding event page without you doing anything.
For developments at Upcoming (also 28 August), go here: undiscovered events ('a very deep well of events that Upcoming members haven't added yet, collected from around the web and updated daily by our friends over at Yahoo! Local. To put this in perspective, we increased the number of upcoming events by 3000% overnight'), event filters, Flickr photos for events, buddy icons, new event pages.
All this is already old news on the web. I blog it because the value of this to anyone involved in education is immense and the achievement it represents (on the part of Flickr and Upcoming staff, but also, of course, the user communities) is the kind of stuff about which we should be telling our students — the next generation of innovators and co-creators.
Best overview of Flickr's geotagging I've seen to date? Thomas Hawks', here. (Hawks is the Chief Evangelist for the photo sharing site, Zooomr — 'We would be seen as a competitor to Flickr'.) A 'Go Read'.
1) Bokardo has posted on it, too: 'With geotags, Flickr pushes the envelope that much forward. I think it’s a great social feature, and one whose surface has only been scratched so far. I’m excited to see what other views people will come up with, given what we’ve seen in the first few days'.
2) Google Earth Blog: Better Method for Geotagging Photos for Flickr Using Google Earth/Picasa.