Flickr, Geotagging, and Me…

January 19, 2012 8:03pm
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A small concern that exposed itself in the form of a feature since I started using Flickr recently (to blog my food, of all things…) is that for photos taken with a camera that has GPS capabilities (i.e. my iPhone), the possibility presents itself that uploading these pictures might share a little more information about me than even I’m willing to share with the rest of the world!

I mean, on one hand it is a neat feature to be able to see a pin on the map where various photos are taken, and when I’m out and about around town or maybe visiting Disney World, I don’t necessarily care that such precise location data about me would be shared, however for this project that I recently undertook, a lot of my food pics are being shot right here in the comfort of my own home, and not for nothing, but there are some real crazies on the Internet and I don’t necessarily want to be broadcasting my home address to the lot of them!

No offense, of course – I’m sure that 99.9% of you guys are all perfectly balanced, on any necessary psychological meds, and would never dream of just showing up at my doorstep because you didn’t find my latest humor column about dog farts to be nearly as ground-breakingly entertaining as I did, but there’s always that one guy…

Anyways, I was about ready to reluctantly just turn location-tracking off for all of my photos to play it safe when instead I found this really cool feature offered by Flickr that pretty much does exactly what I had been thinking would’ve been an acceptable compromise – basically, give me the option to say, “Don’t post location data for me when I’m at home or visiting that one store that’s just between the two of us, but everything else is perfectly fine.”

They call the feature Geofencing and it’s pretty simple to setup – you just enter an address on the map and select a “zone” around it, from 50 – 10,000 meters, then set whatever privacy settings you’d like for that particular zone (i.e. maybe people defined as “family” can see your photo’s location within that zone, but not anyone else). I just set mine to Only You because I don’t really have many contacts on Flickr at the moment anyways, and so now whenever I upload a photo that has GPS data landing within those two pre-defined zones of mine, the location data simply won’t be visible to anyone but me. For all others, you can still see that I took a particular photo standing outside the Main Street Confectionery at the Magic Kingdom or down the street at my favorite Chinese place or whatever.

I thought this was a pretty cool was to address the concern without just giving up on geotagging altogether because really, as long as I still have some privacy at home, I don’t necessarily care if you can tell which local mall I took random funny picture #47 at. Nice one, Flickr! 😎

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