Twitter in the API

Ever since we launched our Flickr2Twitter beta, developers have been requesting new API methods, so they can support Flickr as a photo sharing option in their Twitter clients.

I’ve got good news, and bad news.

The bad news is we don’t have any new APIs to offer you.

The good news is we shipped our “Twitter APIs” nearly five years ago.

Let me explain.

Working with Blogs (including Twitter)

For as long as anyone can remember, we’ve supported the option of posting to external blogs directly from Flickr. Once you’ve configured a blogging service it becomes available in the “Blog This” drop down, as an option for Upload by Email, and, of course, in the API.

You and I might have serious philosophical questions about whether Twitter is a blogging service, but our web servers are more pragmatic. To them, the Twitter integration is just a new blogging service.

Configuring a blogging service

The first step for a member wishing to blog (or tweet) via Flickr is to configure an external blog. The only way to do this on flickr.com, generally from the Add a blog page.

Twitter is a bit special (or rather a preview of things to come) as we’ve given it its own service page. Directing users of your app to the Flickr2Twitter page is probably the best way get them “tweet ready”.

All set?

From here on out, you’ll need your user to have authorized you to access their Flickr account. (Find out more about FlickrAuth)

With a signed call to flickr.blogs.getList() you can get a list of all the blogging services a member has configured. Alternately you can pass in a service id (e.g. Twitter) to scope the list of blogs to the service you’re interested in. The response looks something like:

<blogs>
  <blog id="7214" name="Code Flickr" service="MetaWeblogAPI" needspassword="0" url="http://code.flickr.com/blog/"/>
  <blog id="7215" name="Twitter: kellan" service="Twitter" needspassword="0" url="http://twitter.com/kellan"/>
  <blog id="72157" name="Twitter: Flickr" service="Twitter" needspassword="0" url="http://twitter.com/flickr"/>
</blogs>

This account has 3 blogs configured. A Wordpress blog, and two Twitter accounts. Each one has a unique id. Additionally needpassword="0" means we have credentials for these blogs stored server side and you don’t need to prompt your user to log in to their blog.

If you passed in Twitter as the service, and instead of the above you got something like:

<blogs/>

Then your user hasn’t configured any blogs for that service.

The Easy Option: Upload a photo to Flickr, post to Twitter via Flickr

If your application has been authorized to upload photos on your user’s behalf, and you’ve made sure they have a Twitter blog configured with Flickr, then the easiest solution is to use Flickr as a passthru service.

Once you’ve successfully uploaded a photo you’ll get an API response like <photoid>1234</photoid>. (Find out more about uploading and asynchronous uploading).

Pass the blog id from the <blogs> list above, and the photoid from the upload response to flickr.blogs.postPhoto(). If you’re posting to Twitter the title argument is optional and the description argument is ignored. (By default the title of the photo is the body of the tweet, alternately pass a different status update in the title field)

Or instead of passing a blog id, you can pass a service id (i.e. Twitter) and the photo (and blog post) will be sent to the first matching blog of that service. If we don’t find a blog matching that service, you’ll get a “Blog not found.” error.

Assuming your API call to flickr.blogs.postPhoto() is well formed, Flickr will turn around and post your user’s tweet to Twitter, including a short flic.kr url linking back to their photo.

The Established Option: Upload a photo Flickr, post to Twitter any which way you can

If you’re looking to integrate Flickr photos into an existing Twitter application you might already have a preferred method for posting to Twitter.

After you’ve successfully uploaded a photo and received the photoid follow these instructions for manufacturing a short url using the flic.kr domain.

Unlike most URL shortening schemes, every photo on Flickr already has a short URL associated with it. The follow the form:

http://flic.kr/p/{base58-photo-id}

By the way, you shouldn’t feel constrained to only use short urls on Twitter. They work equally well for a diverse range of applications including fortune cookies.

Thumbnails

If you want to display a thumbnail of a photo, you’ll need to make an API call to one of the methods that returns the photo’s secret. Either flickr.photos.getSizes() or flickr.photos.getInfo() will do. Read up on constructing Flickr URLs.

Follow Along

My favorite new game has been watching the flows of shared Flickr photos as they appear on Twitter.

Happy photo sharing!

Slides from Velocity 2009

At Flickr Engineering our favorite thing is rainbows. But fast stable websites come a pretty close second. So last week some of us drove down to San Jose to take part in the 2009 O’Reilly Velocity conference.

The conference consists of two tracks, performance and operations. The attendance was a great mix of people working on optimizing the whole web stack - everything from the download size of CSS to the PUE of data centers. There were talks on automated infrastructure, Javascript, MySQL, front-end performance recommendations and CDNs, but the most significant theme was the direct business benefits that companies like Google and Microsoft are seeing from microsecond speed improvements on their sites.

Some of the most interesting sessions for for us were:

  • John Adams talking about Twitter operations (details , slides , video )
  • Eric Schurman and Jake Brutlag’s joint presentation about performance benefits seen at Google and Bing (details , slides , video )
  • Andrew Shafer’s discussion of Agile Infrastructure (details )
  • Adam Jacobs and Ezra Zygmuntowicz’s talk about Cloud Infrastructure (details )

John and I also gave a talk on how Flickr’s engineering and operations team work together to allow us to iterate quickly without causing stability problems. The full video is available, and here’s the slides:

Thank you to Jesse and Steve for putting together a great conference. We’re already looking forward to next year.

Every Step A Story

Many of you will have already read on the sister Flickr.com blog that we added “nearby” pages to the m.flickr.com site, last week, for phones that support the W3C Geolocation API (that means the iPhone, or Gears if you’ve got an Android phone).

Ross summed it up nicely, writing:

Use this to explore your neighborhood, or find the best places to photograph local landmarks from. Reload the page as you walk around a city, and see the things that have happened there in the past. You’ll see a place through the eyes of the flickrverse.

We’ve also updated the nearby pages on the main site so that when you go to…

www.flickr.com/nearby

…without a trailing latitude and longitude, we’ll see if you have any one of a variety of browser plugins that can tell us your location. This is similar to the Find My Location button on the site maps, that Dan described back in April, but for nearby!

Like the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser, the next version of Firefox (version 3.5, currently being tested as a release candidate) will also support automagic geolocation so you won’t even need to install any plugins or other widgets.

Just point your browser to www.flickr.com/nearby/ and away you go.

The other piece of nearby-related news is Tom Taylor’s fantastic FireEagle application for the Mac called Clarke.

Clarke is a toolbar app that sits quietly in the background and scans the available wireless networks using the Skyhook APIs to triangulate your position and updates FireEagle with your current location.

In addition to being an excellent FireEagle client, Clarke also supports Nearby-iness for a variety of services, including Flickr.

I’m writing this post from FlickrHQ, in downtown San Francisco, so when I choose Flickr from Clarke’s Nearby menu it loads the following page in my web browser:

http://www.flickr.com/nearby/37.794116,-122.402776

Which is kind of awesome! It means that you can travel to a brand new place, open up your laptop and just like magic (read: once you’ve connected to a wireless network) see pictures nearby.

Woosh!

Flickr Shapefiles Public Dataset 1.0

Yes, it is.

photo by dp

The name sort of says it all, really, but here’s the short version:

We are releasing all of the Flickr shapefiles as a single download, available for use under the Creative Commons Zero Waiver. That’s fancy-talk for “public domain”.

The long version is:

To the extent possible under law, Flickr has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to the “Flickr Shapefiles Public Dataset, Version 1.0”. This work is published from the United States. While you are under no obligation to do so, wherever possible it would be extra-super-duper-awesome if you would attribute flickr.com when using the dataset. Thanks!

We are doing this for a few reasons.

  • We want people (developers, researchers and anyone else who wants to play) to find new and interesting ways to use the shapefiles and we recognize that, in many cases, this means having access to the entire dataset.
  • We want people to feel both comfortable and confident using this data in their projects and so we opted for a public domain license so no one would have to spend their time wondering about the issue of licensing. We also think the work that the Creative Commons crew is doing is valuable and important and so we chose to release the shapefiles under the CC0 waiver as a show of support.
  • We want people to create their own shapefiles and to share them so that other people (including us!) can find interesting ways to use them. We’re pretty sure there’s something to this “shapefile stuff” even if we can’t always put our finger on it so if publishing the dataset will encourage others to do the same then we’re happy to do so.
buster tries to solve our TV problems

photo by mbkepp

The dataset itself is pretty straightforward. It is a single 549MB XML file uncompressed (84MB when zipped). The data model is a simple, pared-down version of what you can already get via the Flickr API with an emphasis on the shape data.

Everything lives under a single root places element. For example:

<place woe_id="26" place_id="BvYpo7abBw" place_type="locality" place_type_id="7" label="Arvida, Quebec, Canada">
	<shape created="1226804891" alpha="0.00015" points="45" edges="15" is_donuthole="0">
		<polylines bbox="48.399932861328,-71.214576721191,48.444801330566,-71.157333374023">
			<polyline>
				<!-- points go here-->
			</polyline>
		</polylines>
		<shapefile url="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3203/shapefiles/26_20081116_082a565562.tar.gz" />
	</shape>

	<!-- and so on -->
</place>
			

Aside from the quirkiness of the shapes themselves, it is worth remembering that some of them may just be wrong. We work pretty hard to prevent Undue Wronginess ™ from occurring but we’ve seen it happen in the past and so it would be, well, wrong not to acknowledge the possibility. On the other hand we don’t think we would have gotten this far if it wasn’t mostly right but if you see something that looks weird, please let us know

The dataset is available for download, today, from:

http://www.flickr.com/services/shapefiles/1.0/

The other exciting piece of news is that the Yahoo! GeoPlanet team has also released a public dataset of all their WOE IDs that include parent IDs, adjacent IDs and aliases (that’s just more fancy-talk for “different names for the same place”) under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Which is pretty awesome, really.

Now & Then

They’ve also released the GeoPlanet Placemaker API. You feed it a big old chunk of free-form text and then “the service identifies places mentioned in text, disambiguates those places, and returns unique identifiers (WOEIDs) for each, as well as information about how many times the place was found in the text, and where in the text it was found.”

Again, Moar Awesome.

And a bit dorky. It’s true. The data, all by itself, won’t tell a story. It needs people and history to make that possible but as you poke around all this stuff don’t forget the value of having a big giant, and now open, database of unique identifiers and what is possible when you use them as a bridge between other things. Without WOE IDs we wouldn’t have been able to generate the shapefiles or do the Places project or provide a way to search for photos by place, rather than location.

Enjoy!

Oh, and those “unidentified” outliers, in New York City, that I mentioned in the last post about the donut hole shapefiles: The Bronx Zoo, Coney Island and Shea Stadium. Of course!

(if you lived here)

photos by ajagendorf25, auggie tolosa and the sky

The Absence and the Anchor

Back in January, I wrote a blog post about some experimental work that I’d been doing with the shapefile data we derive from geotagged photos. I was investigating the idea of generating shapefiles for a given location using not the photos associated with that place but, instead, from the photos associated with the children of that place. For example, London:

London

The larger pink shape is what we (Flickr) think of as the “city” of London. The smaller white shapes are its neighbourhoods. The red shapes represent an entirely new shapefile that we created by collecting all the points for those neighbourhoods and running them through Clustr, the tool we use to generate shapes.

For lack of any better name I called these shapes “donut holes” because, well, because that’s what they look like. The larger shape is a pretty accurate reflection of the greater metropolitain area of London, the place that has grown and evolved over the years out of the city center that most people would recognize in the smaller red shape. Our goal with the shapefiles has always been to use them to better reverse-geocode people’s geotagged photos so these sorts of variations on a theme can better help us understand where a place is.

Like New York City. No one gets New York right including us try as we might (though, in fairness, it’s gotten better recently (no, really)) and even I am hard pressed to explain the giant pink blob, below, that is supposed to be New York City. On the other hand, the red donut hole shape even though (perhaps, because) it spills in to New Jersey a bit is actually a pretty good reflection of the way people move through the city as a whole.

NYC

It could play New York on TV, I think.

I’m not sure how to explain the outliers yet, either, other than to say the shapefiles for city-derived donut holes may contain up to 3 polygons (or “records” in proper Shapefile-speak) compared to a single polygon for plain-old city shapes so if nothing else it’s an indicator of where people are taking photos.

If the shapefiles themselves are uncharted territory, the donut holes are the fuzzy horizon even further off in the distance. We’re not really sure where this will take us but we’re pretty sure there’s something to it all so we’re eager to share it with people and see what they can make of it too.

Vietnam

(This is probably still my favourite shapefile ever.)

Starting today, the donut hole shapes are available for developers to use with their developer magic via the Flickr API.

At the moment we are only rendering donut hole shapefiles for cities and countries. I suppose it might make sense to do the same for continents but we probably won’t render states (or provinces) simply because there is too much empty unphotographed space between the cities to make it very interesting.

There are also relatively few donut holes compared to the corpus of all the available shapefiles so rather than create an entirely new API method we’ve included them in the flickr.places.getShapeHistory API method which returns all the shapefiles ever created for a place. Each shape element now contains an is_donuthole attribute. Here’s what it looks like for London:

<shapes total="6" woe_id="44418" place_id=".2P4je.dBZgMyQ"
	place_type="locality" place_type_id="7">

	<shape created="1241477118" alpha="9.765625E-05" count_points="275464"
		count_edges="333" is_donuthole="1">

		<!-- shape data goes here... -->

	</shape>

	<!-- and so on ->

</shapes>

Meanwhile, the places.getInfo API method has been updated to included a has_donuthole attribute, to help people decide whether it’s worth calling the getShapeHistory method or not. Again, using London as the example:


<place place_id=".2P4je.dBZgMyQ" woeid="44418" latitude="51.506"
       longitude="-0.127" place_url="/United+Kingdom/England/London"
       place_type="locality" place_type_id="7" timezone="Europe/London"
       name="London, England, United Kingdom" has_shapedata="1">

	<shapedata created="1239037710" alpha="0.00029296875" count_points="406594"
                   count_edges="231" has_donuthole="1" is_donuthole="0">

        <!-- and so on -->
</place>

Finally, here’s another picture by Shannon Rankin mostly just because I like her work so much. Enjoy!

What Would Brooklyn Do?

The other day, Mike Ellis posted a really lovely interview with Shelley Bernstein and Paul Beaudoin about the release of the Brooklyn Museum’s Collections API.

One passage that I thought was worth calling out, and which I’ve copied verbatim below, is Shelley’s answer to the question “Why did you decide to build an API?”

First, practical… in the past we’d been asked to be a part of larger projects where institutions were trying to aggregate data across many collections (like d*hub). At the time, we couldn’t justify allocating the time to provide data sets which would become stale as fast as we could turn over the data. By developing the API, we can create this one thing that will work for many people so it no longer become a project every time we are asked to take part.

Second, community… the developer community is not one we’d worked with before. We’d recently had exposure to the indicommons community at the Flickr Commons and had seen developers like David Wilkinson do some great things with our data there. It’s been a very positive experience and one we wanted to carry forward (emphasis mine) into our Collection, not just the materials we are posting to The Commons.

Third, community+practical… I think we needed to recognize that ideas about our data can come from anywhere, and encourage outside partnerships. We should recognize that programmers from outside the organization will have skills and ideas that we don’t have internally and encourage everyone to use them with our data if they want to. When they do, we want to make sure we get them the credit they deserve by pointing our visitors to their sites so they get some exposure for their efforts.

The only thing I would add is: What she said!

Tags:

[changelog] “Find my location” button

I just added a button to the Explore Map and the pop-up map you see when geotagging your own photos from the photo page (organizer support v.soon).

Using my l33t Skitch skills I’ll attempt to highlight it …

Getting ready for a code blog post

… but WAIT! You may not see it! It’s one of those “Power-User” type things…

To get the button to show up you’ll need some form of geo-locating built-in/plug-in type thing, or maybe you’re all smarty-pants and running a cutting edge beta version of a browser with location finding built in already. Perhaps you’ve already installed Google Gears, in which case we’ll use that.

Probably the easiest way of getting the button to appear is to pop over to the Loki site and click the “Try it Now” button, install the plug-in, then pop back to Flickr. Loki is from the SKYHOOK Wireless peeps, who all the cool kids seem to be using.

You can also click over to the Mozilla Labs and read more about their Geode project, about how location stuff will soon be built into browsers and everything and install their geode plug-in from there.

Either way, it’ll check all three “things” and show the button if it finds one, as more options come along I’ll add those too.

As an aside …

This is why you shouldn’t do graphical buttons and multi-language support at the same time.

This is why you shouldn't do graphical buttons and multi-language support at the same time.

… nightmare!

Kittens vs Sunsets

Speaking of things that Kellan has done recently, Jayel over in this thread: Flickr Trends Search kicked off a whole Flickr Central thread of This vs That

Kittens vs Sunsets

… including Girls vs Boys, Mayonnaise vs. Ketchup, Winter vs Summer and Varying vs Flatlined.

Why not go and have a play?

As the footer says “derived from the awesome NYT Trender and code by derekg
adapted for Flickr API by kellan

I See Smart People, AKA: We Do Stuff …

Over on our sister photo arty blog you could easily imagine reading phrases like “One of the amazing things about working at Flickr is the vast amount of incredible photography it exposes you to“, or some such. Hah! Those arty types!

Over here, I’d like to post the flip side … about how one of the amazing things about working at Flickr, is the awesome people I get to work with.

Huddle

Take for example …

Ross Harmes

… people often think I’m joking when we’re sitting in a meeting, discussing how we should standardise our front-end coding conventions or some such and I say we should just “ask Ross”.

But! BUT!! but, Ross wrote a fricking book about JavaScript; Pro JavaScript Design Patterns and sits 3 desks away, it’s faster (and more amusing (to me)) to shout out a question than it is to flick through the index of the book. It’s like having the talking Kindle version, but with a much more natural voice!

You can also find out more at jsdesignpatterns.com

Anyway …

The reason why I wanted to post this, is that recently an awful lot of my co-workers have been doing stuff! So with an eye to that …

The Lovely Kellan Elliott-McCrea

Flashing quickly across the radar last couple of weeks is/was a bunch of discussion about URL shorteners, sort of starting with Josh over here: on url shorteners, and David with The Security Implications of URL Shortening Services. With other discussions popping up here and there and sorta everywhere.

And so, with this bit of philosophy from “Stinky” Willison (more on Simon later) …

Twitter / kellan: “You can build prototypes ...

… Kellan built this (maybe even during meetings); RevCanonical: url shortening that doesn’t hurt the internet, you can read more about it in his blog post URL Shortening Hinting [Note: includes mention of Flickr], where the comments are worth price of admission alone, also, features hamster photos.

If you want to join in, you can read more over on the official RevCanonical blog and get, fork or whatever it is people do with code on github. And I’m sure we’ll have more news about RevCanonical here soon :)

But not content with starting that wildfire, Kellan has also been does his bit to help OpenStreetMap, by walking around with a GPS unit and, I think this part is important, drinking beer

Neocartography

… shown here featuring our good friend Mikel Maron, remember we use OpenSteetMap on Flickr when our own maps are a little sparse. More on maps later!

Meanwhile …

The Mighty John Allspaw

Mr Allspaw is our wonderful Ops guy, here he is …

I have a working iSight now.

… smoldering.

As well as smoldering he also gave a talk at the Web 2.0 Expo called Operational Efficiency Hacks the other week. If you’re into that type of thing and missed it, which you probably did, here are his slides

… and his follow up post adds a little further reading. If you like this kinda of thing you should probably subscribe to his blog where he posts really interesting Flickr related stuff, and infuriatingly enough *not* here on this blog, /me sulk.

On the subject of Allspaw (and as we’ve already mentioned one book), I was pretty sure I’d mentioned his book before: The Art of Capacity Planning: Scaling Web Resources … if building big things on the web is your kinda thing, but apparently I haven’t, so …

According to a reviewer on Amazon “John’s examples are just like Charlie’s from the TV show Numb3rs”, having never watched Numb3rs I can only assume that’s a probably a bad thing (kinda like Scully from X-Files explaining science) but gave it 4 stars anyway :) on those grounds alone you should buy it …

The Art of Capacity Planning: Scaling Web Resources

Oh and don’t forget the WebOps Visualizations Pool on flickr, that John often posts to when things suddenly get much better or worse ;) if you enjoy graphs like this …

The Obama Drop

Getting back to the front-end for a second …

Scott Schiller, Fish enthusiast!

You’ve heard of Muxtape right? That website that plays MP3s, how’d you think it does that? Or the cool javascript/audio stuff that Jacob Seidelin does over at Nihilogic; JavaScript + Canvas + SM2 + MilkDrop = JuicyDrop & Music visualization with Canvas and SoundManager2?

Screenshot shown here (warning: link to noisy thing) …

A [ Radiohead / JavaScript / Boids / Canvas / SM2 ] mashup by Jacob Seidelin

Well they both use SoundManager 2 written by our very own Scott Schiller.

It’s an extensive and easy to use javascript thingy … wait, Scott says it better … “SoundManager 2 wraps and extends the Flash Sound API, and exposes it to Javascript. (The flash portion is hidden, transparent to both developers and end users.)” … which basically means that if you like JavaScript, messing with audio but hate, I mean, dislike working with Flash, it can save you a lot of pain. Here’s one of the demos Scott put together …

And if you think that all looks awesome, remember that Scott is one of our fantastic front-end guys, bringing all that good js magic to Flickr! Apart from the music part, well unless we one day decide to add music and customisable backgrounds to flickr [1].

Aaron Straup Cope

Aaron covered this only the other day: The Only Question Left Is, but has been doing an awful lot with generating shapefiles recently. I just wanted to add my take to it, because even I have trouble keeping up.

Basically what I want, is to be able to send something-somewhere a list of latitudes and longitudes and it return me the “shape” that those points make. This could be anything, the locations of geotagged Squirrels, or even something useful, well kinda like this from Matt Biddulph (him wot of Dopplr) …

London dopplr places, filtered to only places my social network has been to, clustrd
London dopplr places, filtered to only places my social network has been to, clustrd

… which maps out something of interest to him, where his “social network” go/eat etc. in London. Which may be different from mine, or could even have some overlap, thus answering the time old question; which pub should we all go to for lunch?

It’s not quite at the point where you can do it without having to put a little effort in, but I keep prodding Aaron because I want it now! But if you’re the type that does enjoy putting the effort in then you can again do the GitHub dance here: ws-clustr and py-wsclustr (Python bindings for spinning up and using an EC2 instance running ws-clustr).

Once more, more on maps later.

Daniel Bogan - Setup Man

Bogan is virtual, and only exists in the internets, as can be seen here …

Denied

… kind of like Max Headroom, but with worse resolution. Which I think makes Flickr the first interweb company you have a real AI working on the code, not that pretend AI stuff!

Last year he has a bash at helping to put a little context around us delicate flower developers, with a quick run-down of the setup we each used with Trickr, or Humanising the Developers (Part 1) & Trickr, or Humanising the Developers (Part 2). Based on an old project of his called “The Setup” where he used to interview various Internet Famous people (when there wasn’t so damn many of them) about their Setup.

Recently he’s reprised that task, with, wait for it … The Setup, where our very own Bogan asks such leading lights as John Gruber, Steph Thirion, Jonathan Coulton & Gina Trapani. I have no idea how he finds the time!

In turn you can read a quick interview with Bogan over at indicommons.

Rev Dan Catt — errr, me!

Meanwhile, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already seen this, I’ve been trying my hand at using Processing to visualize 24 hours of geotagged photos on Flickr …

… which I managed by following the instructions here Processing, JSON & The New York Times to get Processing to consume our very own Flickr API in JSON format. Which in turn started me off prodding at the Processing group

Flickr: The Processing.org Pool

and Visualization groups on Flickr …

Flickr: The Cool Data Visualization Techniques - Information Visualization Pool

Pulling it all together

So that’s what some of us are up-to, and going back to the start, I’m amazed and all the stuff that goes on, brilliant minds and all that.

In my head, this is what ties it all together, hang on, here we go …

Kellan’s been walking around with a GPS unit (along with 1000s of others), adding to the OpenStreetMap (OSM) dataset, we (Flickr) sometimes use that dataset, but also … Matt Jones (also him wot of Dopplr) made this …

My first Cloudmade map style: "Lynchian_Mid"

… using Cloudmade, who in turn use OSM data to allow people to easily style up and use maps. Now, I’m sure Mr Jones, wont mind me saying that he’s not a coder, infact here he is; Matt Jones - Design Husband …

Matt Jones - design husband

… but a non-programmer can now easily make maps, as demonstrated above and described here: My first Cloudmade map style: “Lynchian_Mid”.

Then using our wonderfully public Shape Files API (flickr.places.getShapeHistory which yes you can get in JSON format for using with Processing or JavaScript) overlay boundaries. Even, when it’s easier (for the non-programmer) plot outlines and shapes, based on the code Aaron is working on, onto those maps.

More on making maps here: maps from scratch.

But where could you get such useful data for plotting or visualising, well obviously there’s our API, which is where the senseable team at MIT got the data for their Los ojos del mundo (the world’s eyes) project, again using Processing …


(un)photographed Spain from senseablecity on Vimeo.

But also, let us recall “Stinky” Willison, one time employee of Flickr, who now works at The Gruadian. They have a geocoding project, that allows you, if you so wished to place their stories on a map … http://guardian.apimaps.org/search.html … which uses Mapping from Cloudmade, map data from OpenStreetMap, location search from our very own API, and stories from their own API. Which in turn allows you to plot their stories on your own maps, phew!

More about the Guardian Open Platform.

The Guardian Open Platform | guardian.co.uk

You can also read about their Data Store, which gives you access to a load of easy to use data just ripe for visualizing…

… be that with Processing, Flash or JavaScript (following the advice in Ross’s book), and even with photos from Flickr and Audio driven with Scott’s SoundManager2, in “Shapes” powered by Aaron, and preserved with short URLs that’ll stick around, thanks Kellan :) and you can scale it if you need to by following John’s insights.

And that’s just what we do when we’re not working on Flickr.

Photos by Ross Harmes, Kellan, jspaw, jesse robbins, Matt Biddulph, waferbaby, moleitau and dan taylor.


[1]never going to happen.

Integrating Flickr into your Rails website

Straightforward, and thorough tutorial on working with the Flickr API and Rails. Takes you from installing the libraries, to coding, to designing your layout, to caching to speed up your site (and keep Flickr happy with you). Awesome.

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Flickr development team talks nerdy.






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