Flickr => KML redux redux: Yahoo! Pipes to the rescue

Yesterday, when I had uploaded my georeferenced photos of Wadi El-Hitan to Flickr and wanted to publish them to Google Earth, I hit upon an unexpected snag: There were 31 photos in my Flickr set tagged with “wadielhitan”, but both RSS-based solutions I had reviewed in a previous post — namely Barry Hunter’s wrapper for Geonames and Mapufacture — suffered from a systemic drawback: Flickr only publishes the most recent 20 images to its RSS feed, even when filtering for a specific tag. Talking directly to Flickr via the API, as Trippermap does, avoids this limitation, but in my case Trippermap was geocoding the photos to South Africa, probably because a sign was being reversed.

I eventually worked around the problem by giving half the photos in my set one special tag and the other half another, and then running both feeds through Barry’s converter. But that was hacky.

This is why I am very happy to report on a new, much improved method that shows off both the genius that is Yahoo! Pipes and the coding prowess of Flickr API guru Steeev. He’s made a Pipe that takes your Flickr ID (and optional tag or group name) and returns the most recent 500 images that fit your description. You can get the result as a list, on a map, as RSS, JSON or KML, thanks to Yahoo! Pipes’s recently improved geospatial modules.

It works wonderfully. My 31 images tagged with “wadielhitan” were a cinch for the pipe (here is my KML file) and you can build your own KML file simply by adding the right attributes to a URL link. (Have a look at how the link in the previous sentence is constructed).

About the only thing I can think of to improve this would be for Yahoo!’s geospatial module to also offer a network link to the KML file, so that people can subscribe to it without having to go through that extra step (which still confuses some). (Oh yes, it would also be cool to be able to filter by sets as well, in addition to by tags.)

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