flickr map-based browsing

This was my thesis project for my BA from the Design and Industry department at San Francisco State University. The idea was simple: browse for photographs on Flickr by using a map interface. But, of course, nothing is ever that simple.

(click the image to view the site)

As it turns out, Flickr stores the locational information that geotaggers have been applying to their images as string variables. Translated, that means that you can't tell if the number is greater than or less than any other numbers.

My solution was to use PHP and a MySQL database in conjunction with the Flickr API (Application Program Interface) to build my own system that can tell me where images are on a map. Around the same time, Yahoo! Maps went international (it previously only displayed North America) and they have a nice Flash plugin to make maps. Put everything together and we have the Flickr Map-Based Browser.

The application runs slow because it is drawing from the Yahoo Maps! API, the Flickr API, and my own database simultaneously. The last revision had a significant speed increase, but I still find that the Flickr requests are the real speed killer. My last revision to the project included animating the photos and laying a marker on the map signifying where the photo was geotagged (the orange circles).

This project was only a proof-of-concept; my paper and presentation were focused on the informational design aspects of this project. Although this works, it may hang up every once in a while.