Flickr added geocoding to their photo sharing service this week, leveraging the mapping services of parent Yahoo!. After finding a location by either searching or navigating a map, users drag a photograph onto it's map location from within the online Organizr tool that Flickr provides free of charge.
The bad news is that mapping for Australia is only high level and restricted to major roads and highways - searching only exists for city names. You can fine tune the positioning for an image if you know the exact latitude and longitude. I'd been investigating some of the mapping APIs for an article that I'd previously written for BuilderAU and had discovered geocoding for Flickr - there are a couple of solutions available that let you take advantage of Google Maps to pinpoint a location.
When I started the mapping for the first time in Organizr I was notified that the geotags I'd previously created could be imported - a nice extra. You're also asked if you want all locations to be public. For me the inability to accurately find an Australian location was rather frustrating. To make better use of it I took advantage of a little Ajax tool to do the searching from directly within the standard Flickr pages. I then used Organizr to roughly position that same photo on the map, I edited the latitude and longitude using the photo's geotag details. You wouldn't want to do this for hundreds of photos, let's hope that the mapping features for Australia improve.
I also found the Organizr mapping application to be a very sluggish performer on Safari. It relies entirely on Ajax and I wonder if that's the culprit. Dragging the map around to find locations was so slow at times that I checked to make sure that I didn't have another application using all my bandwidth.
While it's functionality amazing for an internet application I can't help but think that the user interface could have benefited from being built on the Flash platform for better performance. On the positive side I discovered in the course of doing this exercise is that Google Maps have updated some of the satellite imagery for Australia, for example last time I checked only half of Coffs Harbour had detailed photos - it previously wasn't possible to see the famous Big Banana. It's now there in living colour - woo hoo!!