World Explorer, Explore Your Town With Flickr

Yahoo! is putting the +10 million geotagged photos on Flickr to good use with World Explorer and TagMaps. They are new visualization tools from Yahoo! Research Berkeley – the same group that created ZoneTag (Radar post). The widget that you see below is the TagMap that starts in the Seattle-area.

Here’s how the researchers describe it on their site:

We use the public geotagged photos contributed to the world by the lively and active Flickr community, and the tags associated with these images, to help you explore the world like never before. Our system automatically extracts the tags that are relevant and representative for each map region or zoom level — and connects these tags to the photos that represent that area.

Ok, enough with this high-level blah blah. Start exploring! Find out what’s important in Paris. Check for what you could see if you go north of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Discover whether there is anything interesting on the west coast of England. Decide whether you should go for vacation in Maui or Kauai. Make serendipity lead your way around your own home town (Yoda in San Francisco?). Or simply explore Africa. If you discover something interesting, don’t forget to let us know right here.

To add to the fun, we also introduce Night Explorer and Trip Explorer. Night Explorer visualizes Flickr night photos in the same way, giving you a view of how Flickr users see the world after dark. Trip Explorer, on the other hand, is not based on Flickr at all – but rather, on the contribution of Yahoo! Travel’s Trip Planner users. What are the interesting Trip Planner items in Vermont? What do people visit (ahem, plan to visit) when they go to Austin, Texas? What are the non-obvious locations to visit in Los Angeles? It may be interesting to compare the three different views (Night, Trip and World Explorer) for the same map area.

For a word on the developer story, click through.

They have also provided the ability for you to create your own version of World Explorer:

World Explorer is using two main components. The first is TagMaps, a Flash/SWF object that visualizes tags (i.e., text terms) on a map. The second component is a data APIs – an API that provides the tags to display, including the location and size for each tag. Both of these elements are available for developers to use. Mash it up! you can use both elements together to have a version of our World Explorer on your own page. Or, you can use TagMaps with your own data source to plot tags from your own application on a map. Finally, you can use our World Explorer tag data for your own map-based application. Check here for more details.

Enjoy! The wonders and uses of Flickr’s platform and data never cease to amaze me.