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[Official Topic] Geofences

Flickr Staff

eMiLy @_@ says:

Hello Folks,

If you have any questions, feedback or comments about Geofences, then this Help Forum Topic is for you.

You can read more about it in the blog post and these FAQs:

What's a geofence?

How do I use geofences?

edited: blog post url
Posted at 10:31AM, 30 August 2011 PDT ( permalink )
eMiLy @_@ (staff) edited this topic 44 months ago.

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Wil C. Fry says:

eMiLy @_@

"page not found" for the blog post link. ;-)
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

eMiLy @_@ says:

Fixed : )
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

But the idea sounds nice, and is something that was requested in Flickr Ideas a while back. :-)
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

Yep, the link is fixed now. Thank you.
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Lú_ says:

That's a very cool idea! Can't recall it being proposed in *this* form. Love the implementation.
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

Lú_

I've just bumped several Ideas topics that were asking for this, noting that they're implemented. :-)
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

FAQ typo:

"If a photos location is changed"

Should be "photo's" (with an apostrophe).
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

Suggestion:

Make the geofences visible/editable on the map in Organizr...

I'm sure many users add images to the map in Organizr.

(Also, the current interface for creating geofences, doesn't show any images on the map, so it might be difficult to determine where exactly to place the geofence.)

This is especially true in my case, since my home actually isn't on Yahoo!'s map at all (because Yahoo!'s maps and satellite images are a few years behind). But anyone using the API to view Flickr images on a good map (like Google's) would see my home.
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

Xerxes2K says:

Should be "photo's" (with an apostrophe).

Some of the FAQ lizards must have thought it's a fly. We have put the apostrophe back in. Thanks :)
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Anne Bennett says:

I'm unable to click in the address search field and type anything... the search terms keep coming up in the Flickr search field in the original window.
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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ColleenM says:

Suggestion: When I go to Organize&Create to physically drop a photo on the map, it would be nice to have a shaded area that indicates where my geofence(s) are operating.

Dang, Will beat me to it.
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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judemat says:

Nicely nerded!
Posted 44 months ago. ( permalink )

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Joe Shlabotnik says:

Nice!

Another suggestion: let users know whether their photos are in a geofence or not, right on the photo page. That is, near the map on a photo's page, underneath "This photo was taken on... etc.", there should be a further message, if applicable, saying something like:

This photo is within the geofence "Home" and the location is visible to friends and family only

(You'd only see messages like this on your own photos, of course.)


Also, is it possible to override the geofence setting for individual photos? That is, make a photo inside the geofence "geo-visible" to all? It seems like that should be possible, given that older photos within the new geofence can remain geo-visible...
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ceila♪♫♪ says:

If that application works, it could be nice!
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Michael H says:

Can other people (or Flickr admins) see my geofences?
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

eMiLy @_@ says:

Hello Joe,

"is it possible to override the geofence setting for individual photos?"

Yes, it is possible. You can change the individual photo setting on the photo page under "Owner setting" > "[Who can see]where it was taken".
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

pkingDesign says:

Good news, we already do the thing you asked for (mostly), and fences can be indeed overridden.

We don't show anything about geofences directly on the photo page, but you can easily see if a photo is within a geofence either by expanding the Owner Settings section in the lower right column and then editing your location privacy, or by clicking on the map and then editing the location. We chose not to add a note directly on the page because the added clutter didn't seem worth it.

Geofences can definitely be overridden. You can edit the location privacy for an individual photo in both of the places I mentioned above, or on multiple photos in the organizer. Or, on preview, what Emily said.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

"you can easily see if a photo is within a geofence either by expanding the Owner Settings section in the lower right column and then editing your location privacy"

I'm not seeing anything on the geoprivacy edit popup (on the photopage) that indicates an image is in the fence or not. Also not seeing it when I click the popup map to edit location.

Does this mean the image isn't within the fence?

If so, then I *definitely* need the geofence creator page to show some images (or have the geofences display in Organizr). I thought I created the fence at my home, but I must have missed somehow (since Yahoo! maps doesn't have any part of my neighborhood yet).
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

pkingDesign says:

Correct, if you do not see anything about geofence when you edit your photo's location or change your photo's location privacy, then that photo is not within a geofence.

We're all nodding our heads at the office that it would be nice if we could show nearby photos when you're creating a geofence. That's certainly something we want to do, but it wasn't in the cards for this release.

If you're having trouble getting a fence in exactly the right place, you could try coping the lat/long numbers from the map of a photo that you know is in your house. The lat/long is in the lower right corner of the photo page map (or you can get it from Google maps, Bing, etc). Paste that into the Create Geofence location search box and that should drop a fence in the right place.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

"copying the lat/long numbers from the map"

Ah! Thank you. I'll get that fence built in no time. :-)
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

Okay. I corrected the location of the geofence by using the lat/long numbers as pkingDesign suggested. That worked perfectly.

I was then able to apply the geofence settings to past images uploaded within that geofence.

When I visit one of those images, the only indication it's in the geofence is if I attempt to edit the location via the popup map.

There is no indication in the "edit geoprivacy" popup.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Clive Andrews says:

This is a great idea, but I've been thinking...

Suppose I've taken many photos all over my city, and geotagged them. Then I decide i would like a geofence around my home, so I make one, of say, a kilometre.

So now, when a non-friend views a map of my photos tagged around my city, they will see a circular 'hole'. And they will be able to suppose that at the centre of the hole is a location I consider private to me. Doesn't this confuse the idea of privacy that this otherwise impressive feature aims to protect?

If course, I can position the centre of my geofence away from my home itself, but if I follow the instructions as guided by Flickr, am I effectively giving away the location of my home?
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

"am I effectively giving away the location of my home?"

You can choose the size of the geofence, all the way down to 50 meters (in American, that's 164 feet).

The smaller the "hole", the less likely it is that someone would notice the hole and decide that your home must be there.

Also, there's no reason for anyone to assume that the 'hole' in your map is related to your home. It could be your school, your office, a friend's home, or even some other private function. Or they could assume that you just didn't take pictures there.

Also note, that when someone clicks on your map, they don't see *all* your images. They only see up to 40 or so (depending on the width of their browser window). For instance, I see 29 of your most recent geotagged images. That surely isn't enough images to show the 'hole' you refer to.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ks_focalpoint says:

It has been pointed out here -
thomashawk.com/2011/08/is-there-a-major-security-hole-in-...
that this only works for photos that have been geotagged within Flickr. If your photo was geotagged outside of Flickr then the Lat/Long remains in the EXIF data. Is this the intended result, or is there another reason for this behaviour?
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Johannes_wl says:

Since one of the best photographers in flickr have been permanently banned here. I will, as ks_focalpoint say that Thomas Hawk already have pointed this out.

thomashawk.com/2011/08/is-there-a-major-security-hole-in-...
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

pkingDesign says:

said There is no indication in the "edit geoprivacy" popup.

You're right, sorry about that. I thought we'd added a note into the "edit geoprivacy" popup on the photo page, but we actually didn't.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ColleenM says:

You can also let certain pictures that are within the fence still show the location data.

For instance, I've re-edited about 50 photos this afternoon. They were photos that ended up inside my fence, but didn't need to be there. There is nothing about the photo (flowers, trees, snowstorms) that indicates that I live nearby.

So my map doesn't have any holes in it. And every time I post a photo in that area, it automatically doesn't show geolocation unless I deliberately change it to be visible.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

Zack Sheppard says:

The ability to get the EXIF information from the original, if you made the original available, has always been the case. This is the way EXIF data works anywhere on the web. This is not new and is not related to Geofences.

We included a disclaimer about this on the geo preferences page, "Please note: If you upload a photo with geo data, that info will be embedded in the EXIF data of the original file. If you don’t want people to have access to this information, you should restrict who can download your originals."
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Nerxual_Oh says:

I don't use geo feature cause I don't give out personal info on the internet anywhere. But others who do, are in danger of their personal information being leaked.

All anyone has to do is download your image, look at file info and see everything. To date, place and what was used to take the picture. Test it before releasing it. Maybe even hire someone to try and get pass security. It'll help you guys out by a lot. I really like flickr, it's best site I have been to yet.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ZedOmega says:

I don't geotag anything taken at or near my home.
Not sure why anyone would, but I guess some people don't care about personal privacy.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

"Not sure why anyone would, but I guess some people don't care about personal privacy."

Just because I geo-tag images taken at or near my home, why assume I don't care about personal privacy? Why not instead assume I have a good reason to geotag those images?

Flickr has long given us the ability to change geoprivacy levels on a per-image basis. Images taken at my home are marked so that the general public can't see the map.

And, as pkingDesign said above, you can block access to your original images, which contain the full EXIF and geo-information.

***

Even if this weren't true, and the general public had complete access to that geo-information, you don't hear of very many burglary cases where the burglar first browsed Flickr, checked the map on the photopage, then went to that house.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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armk says:

So now we know where everyone lives: it's the spot at the center of that conspicuos void in their geotagged images! :-P
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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www.dnurv.ca says:

flickr has built so many fences in the past four n' a half yrs you'd think by now they can actually deliver,,,
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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brett.donald says:

What a great feature, thanks Flickr! Location privacy concerns recently caused me to tighten my location privacy on my entire photostream, which I was reluctant to do, but now I can have my cake and eat it too. Fantastic.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Clive Andrews says:

armk - I think you just expressed, much more succinctly than I did, what my fears are!

Wil C. Fry - Once a viewer has zoomed in to a town or district, that photo view can be refreshed, showing pictures related to that new view, no? And despite your point about picking a size of fence, and my idea about choosing an 'off-centre centre' for your fence, I feel my point still stands about the visibility of a photo-free hole among a collection of geotagged images. Colleen makes a very good point about allowing manual exceptions within a geofence - allow that tree on my street, that lovely building a block away, but keep my home/school/playground under wraps?

However - the fact that it's possible to use this in certain ways to make it safer, doesn't mean that folks - folks who aren't here on this forum - will do so unless guided by the system.

ZedOmega - I've previously taken your view, but I think the important point is that this update, in theory, should allow users not to have to make that distinction.

Nerxual - Check out Zack's post just before yours. EXIF security was/is an issue with/without geofences - it's not a fault with this new system.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )
Clive Andrews edited this topic 43 months ago.

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HamatoKameko says:

This is brilliant! I've wanted something like this for ages, thank you! :D
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Ewan says:

ZedOmega wrote

I don't geotag anything taken at or near my home.
Which is fine if geotagging is a process that you positively choose to do, or to not do, for each image. If you're using a phone camera that automatically geotags everything, however, it's not.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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robaberg says:

Geofence defaulting neatly solves the problem of eliminating the most common form of "leakage" - well done!

Next step: strip off the standard long/lat EXIF data from geofenced photos whose images are shared but locations are not. The EXIF show/hide policy should be symmetric with the geofence settings and done using geofence - separate is extra work.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ColleenM says:

robaberg The EXIF show/hide policy should be symmetric with the geofence settings and done using geofence

The Exif show/hide policy controls a whole lot more information than lat/long. For the most part, there's no reason to hide the camera information even when I want to hide the geo-location.

To default every one of my fenced photos to "hide" and to require that if I want to hide location information I must also hide camera information is shortsighted and removes far more information than necessary.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ernstkers says:

I don't use geo feature cause I don't give out personal info on the internet anywhere. But others who do, are in danger of their personal information being leaked.

I have geotagged all my over 2500 items. I bet you are not able to tell where I live at a level below "city". If you succeed to tell the correct city...
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ColleenM says:

A question for the devs:

If I add a photo with "fenced" geo-location data to a group, does that make the geo-location information visible to group members?

I would guess not, but sometimes these things bite back.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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積丹尼 Dan Jacobson says:

By the way I found a geo-related bug, and made www.flickr.com/groups/1763751@N23/ to illustrate it to staff, who in a brief reply said it was intentional. Perhaps other staff could give a second opinion, as FlickrMail to them gets little response. Thanks.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Katili says:

So, using a geofence hides the location completely from people not included in the group allowed to see that info? I think it'd be great if you could specify a "zoom level", as well.

For example, I'd love to make it so Friends/Family can see the full zoom level, contacts can see "neighborhood", and everyone else can see "general city" or "state". That way, if I choose to allow it, I can still let strangers have a little idea where the photo was taken.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

eMiLy @_@ says:

Hello ColleenM,

Even a photo is in a group pool, the geo-privacy is remain unchanged.

Hello 積丹尼 Jidanni,

The problem you reported is not relate to geofences. Please follow up with our member support team with your help ticket.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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repete7 says:

I love this. I've been making duplicates of some photos, so I could strip out the location data to upload them to flickr. The fences are much easier.

As others have suggested it would be nice it the GPS data in the EXIF file was also hidden for photos inside a geofence.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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kevinspencer says:

If I decide to Geofence some specific pictures and only allow certain users to view them, can someone outside my allowed group still download the pic if they know the direct download URL (the farm7.static.flickr.com.blah.blah.jpg one)?

Of course it begs the question, if someone can't view your photo, how could they get the direct download URL? I'm just thinking about those instances where you've had a pic for a while and the download URL was always available to everyone and then you change the privacy settings.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

"If I decide to Geofence some specific pictures and only allow certain users to view them, can someone outside my allowed group still download the pic if they know the direct download"

First, geofences don't have anything to do with whether someone can see the image, or download the image. It's about whether they can see the location of the image.

But yes, anyone with the image URL can always download an image. That's true of the internet, not just Flickr.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Paul L Dineen says:

I've skimmed all the postings here so far, so I think/hope this is not a dup:

I can get directly to the page for creating geofences via the link that was provided in flickr's announcement page (blog.flickr.net/en/2011/08/30/introducing-geofences-on-fl...), ie, the "So what are you waiting for? Head over to your geo preferences page..." link.

However, when I want to go to my Geo Preferences page in the future by going to my account page (www.flickr.com/account) ... I looked under each of the 4 tabs there and could not find a link to the geofence page. (Not even the string "geo" on any of those tabs/pages.) Obviously, I'm overlooking it - what's the path to get there from one's account page? (I don't want to bookmark the announcement page and always have to get to it that way).

I see that the URL is www.flickr.com/account/geo/privacy/, but, as above, rather than bookmark that, I'm expecting to be able to get to that page via my account page, like with other account features.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

MelvinSchlubman
"I looked under each of the 4 tabs there and could not find a link to the geofence page."

Go to Your Account:
www.flickr.com/account

Click the "Privacy & Permissions" tab:
www.flickr.com/account?tab=privacy

Then, where you see "Who will be able to see your stuff on a map", click "edit":
www.flickr.com/account/geo/privacy/?from=privacy
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Paul L Dineen says:

Doh!

Thanks, Wil.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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kevinspencer says:

"First, geofences don't have anything to do with whether someone can see the image, or download the image. It's about whether they can see the location of the image."

Ah. When the blog post stated "Maybe he wants both friends and family to see it, or maybe he wants neither friends nor family to see it.", I mistakenly assumed the "it" was the photo itself, not the location.

"But yes, anyone with the image URL can always download an image. That's true of the internet, not just Flickr."

Thanks for explaining how the internet works, again I was under the impression Geofences prevented the _viewing_ of an image.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

kevinspencer

I can see how the "it" might have been misleading in that sentence. ;-)

The blog post also said:

"The idea for this feature came from a group of our amazingly talented engineers who came up with this idea over a long weekend"

Yet there have been at least three threads in the Flickr Ideas group, asking for just this feature since June 2007 (in this thread). So that part of the blog post was misleading as well.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Ruud de Korte says:

what about "don't geotag" your images because it's ........I mean, folks are responsible for what they post isn't it?
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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ColleenM says:

rraymonde

A large number of Flickr members DO want to have location data visible for almost every photo they upload. Cameras and Flickr make that automatic.

Now, instead of hand editing some of the uploads, so that they are behaving responsibly, Flickr automates the ability to be responsible as well.

Personally, I find it useful to be able to be responsible automatically.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Andreas. says:

I also think that there should at least be an option to hide the whole exif data for photos that are geofenced, if the stripping/hiding of the geo information in the exif it to troublesome. Furthermore restricting downloads of originals is not possible for users who are using cc-licensing for the photos. Therefore they still need to take care of the exif data that is attached to the original stored file on flickr.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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♥ shhexy corin ♥ says:

If the originals are just that, original, in principle, they cannot strip the EXIF from them. Otherwise they wouldn't be original
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

"Therefore they still need to take care of the exif data that is attached to the original stored file on Flickr"

-1

Flickr should continue its current practice of not touching the original in any way.
Posted 43 months ago. ( permalink )

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