Maps

I’m a big sucker for maps. I like having a visual reference for where things happen. I’m not a constant check-in, need to let everyone know where I am at all times kind of guy (minus that short, regretful stint on Fourquare), but for big life events or awesome pictures, I like to geotag.

So I was pretty stoked to see that today’s Instagram update included a new map feature. The “Personal Map” lets you see where users’ photos are taken. It’s not perfect, but definitely a welcome addition.

In the past, viewing old photos on Instagram required a lot of scrolling … and scrolling … and scrolling. With the addition of the Personal Map, going back to look at photos from an old trip is much less laborious. My major gripe with their maps is how close you have to zoom before the stacks of photos separate to more accurate locations. I understand this comes with the limitations of designing for a phone touch screen, but I still feel they could have done a little better.

Flickr‘s Map comes in handy, but has a few big flaws of it’s own. First, it doesn’t show all of your pictures on the map. You can sort by your most recent photos or your most interesting, but it is only pulling 162 instead of the whole kitten kaboodle. It’s a real pain in the ass to tag your photos at a location (Wrigley Field doesn’t work, so you have to use 1060 West Addison), and looking for photos taken in a specific area is terrible because Flickr’s map seems to throw your photos in random places when the user is lazy. Most people just say “This photo was taken at Walt Disney World” instead of how they should tag: “The entrance to The Haunted Mansion ride at Magic Kingdom”.

500px let’s you geotag, but doesn’t show all of your photos on one map. At least, it’s not a feature available to the free accounts.

Reluctantly, I like Facebook‘s Map the best. It collects all of your tagged photos and check-in’s, but I’m still not comfortable with Zuckerburg knowing all the details about everything I do. Clicking on a circle does offer a nice synopsis of your activity from that area, though.

If you don’t already geotag your photos, then I suggest you do. It is the modern day equivalent to putting pushpins in a map on the wall. Although the current crop of photo sharing services are all lacking something, I’m still going to keep it up. It’s fun to reflect on where you’ve been.