Can we automatically create an “attraction map” of the world from Flickr geotagged images and their associated tags? We performed an analysis of Flickr data and developed a visualization technique called Tag Maps to do exactly that. Using the analysis and the Tag Maps visualization, we created an exploration tool called World Explorer that allows one to, well, explore the world like never before.
The idea behind the data analysis is simple: by taking a photo, photographers essentially express their interest in a particular place, and implicitly “vote” in favor of that location. This gives us a set of highly representative tags associated with each map location. The World Explorer visualization is facilitated by placing these representative tags on a map (“a Tag Map”). We augment the Tag Map with photos that represent each tag at its specific location. Together, World Explorer effectively provides a sense of the important concepts and attractions embodied in each map area and zoom level, and allows users – tourists planning a trip, virtual world-discoverers or just some bored individuals – to explore the world via photos.
I’ll also give a brief demo and overview of Zurfer, a novel mobile phone context-aware software prototype that enables access to images on the go. It utilizes the channel metaphor to give users contextual access to media of interest according to key dimensions: spatial, social, and topical. Zurfer attempts to be playful and simple to use, yet provide powerful and comprehensive media access. A temporally-driven sorting scheme for media items allows quick and easy access to items of interest in any dimension. For novice users, and more complicated tasks, we extend the application incorporating keyword search to deliver the long tail of media and images.