Flickr’s Lousy US-Only Maps

Update: This is now fixed. See here for details…

Here’s the 2lmc boys getting rightly annoyed about Flickr’s new mapping feature, which displays geotagged photos overlaid on a mapping UI — as they note, it’s basically a steaming pile of crap outside the US:

However, because Flickr are owned by Yahoo, they’re using their maps. And, like all Yahoo! products, if you’re not American, it sucks.

Compare this lovely data-rich map of SF:


With this featureless grey blob:


That’s just pathetic — there isn’t a single place name visible, and even the Phoenix Park, the biggest urban park in Europe, is simply displayed just as a light-coloured splat with a road going through it.

It appears the Yahoo! mapping data for the UK and Ireland just isn’t really there. What someone needs to do, is take the geotagging data from Flickr, and overlay it on the far more informative Google map data instead ;):

dublin google

It’s a real shame — I used to rely on Y! Maps to get directions everywhere while in the US. They’re missing out on so many customers here…

Update: good news — the Flickr maps are now things of beauty to match Google’s:


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  1. Posted August 29, 2006 at 12:26 | Permalink

    Try pointing Google Maps at West Cork. It’s just a bad joke. Only MS are at the races for Irish maps for some strange reason.

  2. Posted August 29, 2006 at 12:52 | Permalink

    Conor — haha, I see a single road titled “Harbour Hopping in South West Cork”!! wtf, does anyone QA this? That’s hilarious.

    On the other hand — holy crap, Windows Live Local works — and does directions quite well for Dublin at least now! That’s good news.

  3. Posted August 29, 2006 at 13:03 | Permalink

    I’m one of the guys behind Panoramio, a community of geolocated photos. Panoramio includes a drag and drop interface to map your photos over Google Maps, much better for UK than Yahoo Maps. Photos with geodata in EXIF are automatically located in Panoramio. You also can watch the photos in Google Earth through Panoramio’s KML feeds, what is quite nice.



  4. Posted August 29, 2006 at 22:10 | Permalink

    This was the first thing I noticed when I went to use Flickr’s geotagging yesterday, and until they fix this stupid error, the reason I can’t be arsed to use it . If Yahoo don’t care about the non-US world (to be honest, all I need is a map of south Bristol), then I don’t care about Yahoo.

  5. Posted August 29, 2006 at 22:12 | Permalink

    It’s a real shame — I used to rely on Y! Maps to get directions everywhere while in the US. They’re missing out on so many customers here…

    Well, since that aspect of Yahoo! has no business model and seems to be used as a hook for prospective American investors, maybe that’ll work out for them …

    I’ve found Microsoft’s mapping services in general to be usefully comprehensive. I worked as a phone monkey for a satellite DSL place, where I was dealing mostly with France, for a few months last year, and they were serious about map data, whereas Google weren’t. (Zooming in to an address, then zooming out, is really helpful in giving people rough directions as to how to orient their dishes, since you can more easily relate a given address to past experience.)

    But, then, the most accurate details were consistently from a very Web-1.0 (then) Maporama. So we ended up using that, despite the total lack of geographical context that you get when you can’t zoom.

    (Your comment preview presents my UTF-8 as Windows-1252, and ignores that I deselected “[<- one more non-ASCII-non-Latin1 char, but this time entered during the preview.] Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” on the first screen. I’m not correcting the mis-encoded UTF-8, to, hopefully, make it clearer what’s happening; I am deselecting “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail,” though.)

  6. Posted August 30, 2006 at 13:33 | Permalink

    Aidan — the joys of PHP/UTF-8. argh….

  7. Posted August 30, 2006 at 18:28 | Permalink

    To be fair the Google maps of Ireland are… well… they are more like something drawn on a paper napkin at 4am by a deranged minimalist after twelve shots of absynthe.

    None of the mapping services cover the whole world enough to please everyone. is brilliant for Ireland but crap for my home country of South Africa (actually, they are all crap for Africa.) Google is crap for Ireland.

    The Flickr guys have exposed the geotagging API so hopefully we get some mashups for Europe using

  8. Posted August 30, 2006 at 18:33 | Permalink

    Yeah, but for some naive reason I expect Google to be better since their European HQ is here. I guess the IDA grant didn’t cover it ;-)

  9. Posted August 30, 2006 at 19:06 | Permalink

    It’s of no consequence that the Yahoo Maps in flickr has much better sattelite coverage than google maps and the ‘place search’ bit actually puts you in the right place. try entering ‘london eye’ or an address. it’s just really wierd that they don’t have the abstracted overlays done right.

    good thing I know most places i want to tag by how they look from the air.

  10. Posted August 30, 2006 at 19:21 | Permalink

    For ‘it’s of no consequence’ read ‘It’s no consolation’ above.

  11. Posted September 3, 2006 at 12:19 | Permalink

    Check out the following mash up: They overlay flickr photos over a google map

    Cheers Lee