Yahoo have just released a service called TagMaps, allowing you to display a tag cloud of the most interesting terms attached to geotagged Flickr photos on an interactive map.
TagMaps are a new way to visualize text on geographic maps. TagMaps can be used to communicate key characteristics of location-based data in an easy-to-understand way.
A TagMap can be embedded into into your website (for non-commercial use):
It’s not as useful as it might first appear though. The only tags that show are the most “interesting” (often just the most tags for an area), hence the above example for Salisbury shows “cathedral, Old Sarum, and Salisbury” and nothing more granular than that. And you have to click the “View on World Explorer” text at the top to actually see the photos. The tag “cathedral” actually disappears when you zoom in closer, for example. There’s some work to go, it seems.
I like the idea though – it could have some useful heritage applications, which could be especially useful as satellite and aerial photography is improved on the service. Imagine looking at the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape – a big area indeed. Seeing words like “tin” or “copper” or “engine house” etc etc could enable you to explore some photos and narrow down where to go and visit according to your interest.
One to watch as it develops.