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Zonetag Geocoding for Flickr


Yahoo has released a product called Zonetag which offers geocoding (or geotagging) for your Flickr photos. If your camera phone is not GPS enabled, it will use cellular tower locations to approximate your coordinates and tag your Flickr photos with that information.

The Zonetag software also allows you to upload photos to your Flickr account in two steps rather than copying to your computer first and then uploading.

Mobile phone compatibility is currently sparse, however this is an “alpha research prototype release”… in other words expect a few bugs and future improvements.

The Zonetag software finds out from your phone which cell tower you are connected to. It figures out where that cell tower is based on other users of the Zonetag system. If your phone does have a GPS it sends the cell tower ID and the GPS coordinates to the Zonetag system. The Zonetag system then knows that cell tower is near those GPS coordinates.

As more users use the Zonetag system more GPS locations surrounding towers can be identified and more accurate locations approximated.

A second way of identifying the location is to see how other people have manually tagged the location of their photos when they were taken near the same cellular tower. Manually tagging the photo can also be done if you know the exact GPS coordinates by using the geobloggers GPS tagging format. Example:

“geo:lat=45.1241″ and “geo:lon=-71.2397″

url coordinates.

One Response

  1. Thanks for the post.

    As a member of the ZoneTag team, I would like to stress one thing: “Yahoo has released a product” is an overstatement. You got it right in your third paragraph. ZoneTag is indeed a research prototype from Yahoo! Research Berkeley. The ZoneTag prototpye is going to have a limited number of users, be available for a limited number of handsets, and might not be offered “forever” like other Yahoo products.

    Also, we hope that you don’t find many (any?) bugs, but we can certainly promise future improvements!

    Mor Naaman - February 27th, 2006

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