Tagged: Flickr

Flickr Calend'rWhat were the best photos of 2013? Flickr’s “interestingness” rating offers one way to judge the best, based on a special sauce made up of the number of views, faves, and comments. I wrote Flickr Calend’r for discovering the best pix of the year, breaking it down into the best of each month, and displaying the results in a calendar format. The Flickr Calend’r lets you narrow down which photos to search, filtering by user (or group), a search term, a WOE code, or others.

Oh, yeah, “WOE code” – not a commonly-known term. A Yahoo invention, which they normally call WOE IDs, for Where On Earth identifiers. Read Using “Where on Earth” Codes in Flickr for more info. This of course works only on photos that have been geo-tagged, so using this field will greatly reduce the available pool of photos.

You can leave any of these fields blank. When you hit “get calendar” it’ll fire off a request to search each month. This takes a while. I wrote a proxy script in PHP to handle the Flickr API calls, and of course this calendar requires 12 separate calls. I’m not sure if the problem is Flickr’s slow servers, or my own. » Continue Reading…

displayInspired by the Apple TV screen saver, I created a way to display photos from Flickr on a web page. The display has three planes of photos to create a three-dimensional illusion, with fast-moving large images in front and slow-moving small images in back.

The Scrolling Display program is at mvjantzen.com/flickr/display.html. You can choose photos by selecting a user, a tag, or a set. You can also combine a user with a tag. After clicking “display photos”, you’ll see your options in the URL, and in fact you can edit the URL directly to modify your options, or use the link to share, such as mvjantzen.com/flickr/display.html?tags=transpocamp2013. » Continue Reading…

Flickr’s parent company Yahoo made some major changes to the look-and-feel of Flickr as well as its business model. Will the new look make Flickr more competitive with Facebook, Instagram, and Google+, or inspire a wave of alienation and doom the once-great photo-sharing site? After playing with the new design for a few days, here’s my list of rants.

For starters, all pages now have a black header on a semi-transparent background, used for the site’s navigation. The header sticks to the top of the page, wasting space better used for the main content when you scroll down. I believe Flickr had recently introduced a smaller version of this a few weeks ago. The site navigation isn’t as important as Flickr thinks it must be. I’d much rather have the extra vertical real estate and just scroll to the top if I need their navigation options.

flickrhomeThe home page: Flickr now really wants to force you to pay attention to your contacts and groups. Every little update now has a photo as a background, though for new faves and comments, the photo gets a tiny square thumbnail, while a large cropped version is severely darkened as a background for the text, to the point of being unrecognizable and pointless. And the fave announcements no longer have a link to the user’s collection of faves, which I use to judge their taste. The home page has a weird two-column format, but the shorter column stops scrolling when it gets to the end, until the other column has also reached its end, at which point the footer scrolls into view. It’s a cool effect, but frankly annoying as it over-complicates the page’s mental model. » Continue Reading…

HeatmapperI’ve made a few different programs that display Flickr photos, but this is the best one yet. Give Heatmapper a try and see what you think.

The program searches only photos that have been geotagged. You control the boundaries of the search by moving the map before starting the search. You can pan and zoom the map, or just type a description of a place and use the built-in auto-complete geocoder.

You can narrow your search by matching for a word, or limiting the search to a specific user or group. If you leave both fields blank, you’ll see only photos added in the last 12 hours. » Continue Reading…

p2012Use this tool to generate a collage of the photos from 2012 with the highest “interestingness” ratings. Not necessarily the same as “best,” but it’ll have to do. This is of course Flickr’s signature algorithm based on a photo’s views, faves, comments, and such. It’s nice at least to have some algorithm use the same ranking systems for all of the photos out there. Step 1 for finding The Best Photos of 2012 is going to the Configuration Panel, where you can enter a user or group to search (or leave blank for all of Flickr), or search by tags, or regions. And the program lets you pick the number of photos to display per month, and the size.

Be prepared for a bit of a wait as the server script has to make twelve separate calls to the Flickr API before delivering your results. If you like, you can save the resulting HTML for faster sharing with friends. To go further back in time, try digging up The Best Photos of 2011.

The Best Photos of 2012

wordwhereHere’s a fun tool that lets you create your own heat maps of words: WordWhere. Choose any geographic location and see where words tend to cluster. The search is made against Flickr’s gigantic collection of geotagged words, searching the photos’ titles, descriptions and tags.

The program’s strength is in finding geographic locations, such as searching for “Boston” or “Chicago.” Searching for larger areas, like “Canada,” will focus on populated areas where people are posting geo-tagged photos. You can also get reasonable responses for things like “beach,” “alligator,” or “rodeo.” Words not associated with regions tend to be dominated by the heavily-populated areas, though it is still fun to search more-abstract words.

The program uses treemapping, basically a binary search. It keeps dividing a portion of the map into halves, trying to figure out where the biggest results are. You can see the map being updated as the map is divided into smaller rectangles. You can control how many divisions should be made. The greater the density of words, the pinker that rectangle will appear. » Continue Reading…

Where Do Words Appear?

With over half a million geotagged photos on Flickr in the Washington, DC region, we can use that data to explore our community. For this post, I am going to conduct text searches to see if certain words have a geographic pattern in their usage. Text searches in Flickr’s API are matched against the photo’s title, description, and tags. I’m using a map of 560-by-320 pixels, or 20.64-by-11.81 miles at this zoom level (244 square miles).

To start with, I picked terms that should clearly map to certain areas: “Virginia,” “Maryland”, and “District of Columbia.” Virginia returned 23,840 photos, shown in blue. Maryland returned 17,477 photos, shown in red. District of Columbia returned 32,386 photos, shown in green. The heat map uses the natural logarithm of the totals, in order to prevent the regions from being dominated by the high-intensity spikes.

» Continue Reading…

I have over 44,000 geotagged photos on my Flickr account, most of which are in the Washington, DC region. But Flickr doesn’t let me see their distribution, limiting me to 200 photos at a time in the Organizer, and even fewer on my map. My custom-made heat map (below) shows the total photos without having to page. Because my photos in Dupont Circle are so numerous as to dwarf other areas, I used a two-tone heat map switching gradients at 1% of the highest square. Overall there are 35,377 photos from MVJantzen in this map.

» Continue Reading…

After discovering that the National Mall has the bulk of Washington, DC’s geotagged Flickr photos, I wanted to zoom in and study the distribution more closely. In this more-detailed view, the square with the most photos is over the National Air & Space Museum. With over 9 million visitors per year, Air & Space is the city’s most-visited museum. The 14-by-14-pixel in that location has 8,502 photos. However, because that square does not map directly onto the museum, it is only an approximation; you should also examine neighboring squares that might also overlap the museum. And of course we are counting only photos that are geotagged, which is a small subset of all photos actually taken.

The second-most populated square on the grid is over the Verizon Center, with 8,291 photos. The third-highest square falls on the Lincoln Memorial, with 8,171 photos. (Again, these numbers represent only the squares, not the attraction they seem to correspond to.)

It’s interesting to see the trail of photos around the perimeter of the Tidal Basin, with a blank segment on the north by the Kutz Bridge. Perhaps that’s because the sidewalk is too narrow to invite lingering, or because people care only about the trees elsewhere. You can also see a cluster along Pennsylvania Avenue, as well as 7th Street. The entire map has 341,464 photos. » Continue Reading…

Where are Washington, DC’s most interesting places? On the theory that people are more likely to take photos of interesting places, I used Flickr’s API to find out how many photos were geo-tagged across the region. Starting with a 480-by-360-pixel map, I created a grid with 32 columns and 24 rows, making 768 15-by-15-pixel squares. For each square, I calculated the latitude and longitude of the boundary, and asked Flickr to tell me how many photos have been geotagged in that area. The cropped image below makes it clear the National Mall is the most-photographed place in the area, with West Potomac Park and downtown also registering on the radar.

That bright red square on the Mall has 63,793 photos taken on it, but the total for the original (uncropped) map has 719,633. I used a linear scale to set the opacity of each square in the heat map. Any square with fewer than 1% of the highest-value square’s total will be practically invisible. Since the Mall dominates the photographic landscape, I need to use a different display method to show the variation among the less-popular areas. » Continue Reading…