All posts tagged ‘Flickr’

Flickr, Science Come Together to Bring New Species to Light

Semachrysa jade, new lacewing species. Image: Kurt/Flickr

Photo sharing giant Flickr may not be the internet hipster favorite it once was, but the site remains not just popular, but useful as well — Flickr recently helped connect a scientist with a photographer, making it possible to classify a new species of green lacewing.

Photographer Hock Ping Guek, whose Flickr stream is full of gorgeous macro images, was photographing in a state park in Malaysia when he snapped an image of an unusual-looking Green Lacewing. Guek then uploaded the images to Flickr.

That’s where Shaun Winterton, a senior insect biosystematist at the California Department of Food & Agriculture, happened to see the somewhat odd-looking green lacewing with its distinct wing pattern of black markings and white spots. It didn’t match anything Winterton had ever seen before. He sent the image to fellow scientists, but no one was familiar with it.

Winterton then got in touch with Guek, who returned to Malaysia, this time collecting a specimen that was then sent back to Winterton. Winterton then collaborated with Stephen J. Brooks of the London Natural History Museum to describe the new species. The two, along with Guek, share credit for the new species, which is named Semachrysa jade.

While the three share credit, the paper outlining the new species (available on Zoo Keys) also credits the web for bringing Semachrysa jade to light:

New species are increasingly being discovered by the general public with interests in the natural sciences long before they are recognized as new to science by professional taxonomists and formally described. With the rapid development of digital photographic technology, professional and amateur photographers are unknowingly discovering and informally documenting new species of animals and plants by placing images of them in online image databases long before taxonomists can examine them.

If you’d like some more background on how it all came together, be sure to check out Guek’s blog Up Close with Nature.

File Under: Multimedia, Web Services

Flickr Partners With Nokia for Better Maps

Flickr’s new maps (right) are a considerable improvement over the old. Image: Flickr

Photo sharing website Flickr is showing off some nice-looking new maps with considerably more detail than previous versions.

The new look and additional map data for Flickr’s maps come from Nokia Maps, which, as part of a new partnership, is providing map styles and satellite images to Flickr.

If you’ve ever tried to geotag your Flickr photos anywhere even remotely off the beaten path, the updated maps are welcome news.

The new map data, combined with what Flickr already pulls from OpenStreetMap — which Flickr uses in areas where commercial maps lack coverage — means no more dropping your images into a vast sea of beige, guessing that somewhere in there is probably about where you took the photo. Now you’ll see road details, landmarks and even public transportation info like bus stops to help you figure out where you were when you tripped the shutter on that masterpiece.

File Under: APIs, Multimedia, Web Services

Flickr Amps Up the Social With New ‘Groups’ Features

Flickr's new group pool pages, now with "justified" view.

Flickr has made some small but welcome upgrades to the cornerstone of its social features — Flickr Groups. The changes include a new way to view group pools and the ability to post directly to groups using Flickr’s new HTML5 uploader.

Flickr lacks the hype of more recent photo-sharing services like Instagram, but remains popular with pro and amateur photographers alike at least in part because of the community that continues, despite some stumbles, to exist on the site. Much of that community is built around Flickr Groups, like-minded photographers banding together to share images of anything from beautiful mountains to sushi to a shared love of RAW images from micro 4/3 cameras.

In an effort to make it easier for Flickr fans to contribute to Groups, Flickr’s recently updated photo uploader now offers an option to share your photos with any group you’ve joined directly from the upload page.

Perhaps more importantly, Flickr is extending the Flickr API with the same features, making it possible for third-party applications — like your favorite iOS and Android photo apps — to add the same group sharing features. Developers can check out the Flickr code blog for more on what’s new in the Flickr API.

As part of today’s Groups upgrade, Flickr is also extending its “justified” view — which tiles images to fit more photos at larger sizes in a smaller space — to Group photo pools. Along with the justified view, Group Photo Pool pages now have a persistent (but collapsible) sidebar where you can quickly access group discussion threads, view tags and see the top contributors.

File Under: Multimedia, Web Services

Flickr Goes Big With Larger Images, Responsive Redesign

Flickr: now with bigger images and a (mostly) responsive design.

Flickr recently changed its “lightbox” photo pages — the darker photo-friendly interface on the site — to display much larger photos. Now the grandfather of online photo-sharing sites is rolling out a site-wide redesign that uses the same big, beautiful images to put your photos front and center on every page.

The larger images in Flickr’s revamped photo pages put the emphasis where it belongs — on your photos. Peripheral information, like comments, maps, tags, set info and so on are still there, they’re just now (rightly) dwarfed by the actual image.

The result is a much more photo-centric site that does a nice job of differentiating itself from the current trend of low-res, filter-heavy photo0sharing services.

Web developers, take note: Flickr’s new layout isn’t just eye-catching, it’s also somewhat responsively designed — adjusting to the myriad screens on the web today and displaying the best photo possible without clogging your tubes with huge photo downloads. Flickr does stop short of scaling pages down to phone-size screens — for which there is a separate mobile website — but it resizes nicely to handle tablets.

That’s right, Flickr is the latest (and perhaps the largest) website to embrace not just a mostly responsive design with a liquid layout and media queries, but also a responsive approach to images.

We’ve looked at dozens of ways to handle images in a responsive design, but Flickr has opted for a custom setup that uses a bit of server-side PHP and some JavaScript to serve images based on screen size. Flickr is also using a custom algorithm that takes the width and height of the screen into account and “will display content at a width that will best showcase the most common photo ratio, the 4:3.”

For more details on how Flickr is handling the responsive aspects of the new design, check out the Flickr code blog.

Developers working with the Flickr API should note that the new photo sizes are now available through the Flickr API if your app or website would also like to display larger images.

File Under: Visual Design, Web Apps

Flickr: When It Comes to Photos, Bigger Is Better

Size matters: Flickr's lightbox view now offers much larger images.

Yahoo is once again lavishing some attention on Flickr. Flickr has already launched a new photo uploader and a new photo editor in recent weeks, and now the site is making your images look even better with new, higher-resolution photo displays.

It’s been nearly two years since Flickr last redesigned its photo pages to display larger images. Since then screen resolutions have only improved, and when it comes to viewing photos you don’t have to be a pro photographer to know that bigger is better.

To make your uploaded images look better — especially when you’re browsing in fullscreen mode — Flickr is introducing two new photo sizes, 2048 and 1600 pixels.

Right now you’ll only see the new larger images when you enter Flickr’s “lightbox” view with its darker, photo-friendly interface (just click an image to enter lightbox view). At the moment the regular photo pages remain unchanged. However, the Flickr blog reports that the larger images will soon be available through Flickr’s API and “a few other places over the next couple of weeks.” While the new image sizes are probably too large for the default photo pages, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Flickr refresh the photo page layout with larger images in the near future.

The larger of the two new photo sizes also seems like a future-friendly choice since it works well with very high-res screens like what you’ll find on Apple’s latest iPad. Although Flickr does not appear to be doing so just yet, serving the larger images to the iPad would make for sharper photos on the iPad’s high-resolution screen. [Update: The Flickr team tells Webmonkey that it “just enabled hi-res photo sharing to the new iPad this morning.”]

Naturally, to take advantage of the new larger image sizes Flickr is now creating, you’ll need to be uploading photos at least that large. But given that most phone cameras produce images in that pixel range these days, there’s a good chance you already are.

Flickr Pro members can control how large their images are displayed; just head to the new image size settings page. By default Flickr sets this to “best display size,” though if you want to stop people from downloading high-res copies of your images you can limit the display size to 1024 pixels. The new image size setting doesn’t affect who can download your original files, just those created by Flickr. But since the sizes Flickr creates are larger than what most original images would have been back when Flickr first launched, the new setting makes sense.

One thing to note with the new image sizes: they only apply to photos uploaded since Mar. 1, 2012; older images won’t be resized. The other thing to know is that if you upload something with a long edge of less than 2048 pixels, Flickr won’t upsize it so there’s no need to worry about small images being pixelated.

The new image sizes may not win over fans of filter-happy, low-res image sharing websites, but for Flickr aficionados it offers a compelling reason to stick around.