Recently we enabled a quiet little feature that, hopefully, allows users to navigate some of the mystery and serendipity in the 100 million geotagged photos on Flickr. We call it “nearby” and it is available for any geotagged photo on the site.
Nearby starts with a geotagged photo and then queries for other geotagged photos within a one kilometer radius. You can order the results by time and distance and interestingness but the important part is that they are photos, well, nearby to the photo you are looking at. Nearby is a deliberately fuzzy concept. Nearby in St. Peter’s Square in Rome might mean the person directly in front of you. Nearby in the streets of a small town might be the beautiful garden behind the fence and around the corner. Nearby encourages people to poke around and discover their surroundings, as though they were on foot and everything was just a short walk away.
Or to quote Rick Prelinger from his fantastic talk, at the Long Now Foundation, called “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco” :
“Knitting (geo) tags and images together is one tiny incremental step towards the creation of what you might call a four-dimensional model of the world that shows the development of place over time.”
There’s a in-depth blog post titled “Things I’m Standing Next To” on the code.flickr weblog which covers all the details but the really short version is that you can append /nearby to any geotagged photo URL and we’ll show you photos … nearby!