Spatial Tagging

The Species Of Spaces

“Space melts like sand running through one’s fingers. Time bears it away and leaves me only shapeless shreds:
To write: to try meticulously to retain something, to cause something to survive; to wrest a few precise scraps from the void as it grows, to leave somewhere a furrow, a trace, a mark or a few signs.”
Georges Perec
  • London - 2011
    London by area - 2011
  • Manhattan 2012
    Manhattan - 2012

The spatial structure of Flickr tags show how different features and topographies relate to each other. When the 'Tags' metric in the Map dropdown menu is selected it is possible to see the tags coloured individually. The colours are automatically generated as each tag is selected and added to the list on the left. You can then open the colour picker and hand tint the tags, to either group or distinguish between different features.

Tag Order

Photographs may have many tags applied to them, and which tag colour is rendered will depend on their order in the left hand tag list. The tags at the top of the list take precedence over those that follow. The list can be reordered by dragging the tags to where you want them to appear in the list. The video below shows how to use the tag interface.

The above video of central London during 2011 shows how different territories are described at different times. The area around Whitehall and Trafalgar Square has long been a site for both pomp and protest, and there is crossover between the ways in which these spaces are occupied and used by different groups. The protesters are rarely allowed to cross Admiralty Arch into the Mall as this space is reserved for patriotism, tourists and day trippers.

The tag selection and colours are added to the page URL so you can share the link. In all of the images below there is a link underneath the thumbnail that opens an interactive version of the map in a new window. Please note that some of these searches will take time to load.

What kind of things are tagged?

We are limiting the number of tags displayed to the top thousand by photo count, as there would be performance issues with the interactive if the list was longer. For London in 2011 the top tag is not surprisingly london[170999] and the last tag is slr[380].

The list includes tags that describe all sorts of geographic and social spaces and places, things large and small:

  • area names - e.g. london[170999], londres[6973], londra[2864], northlondon[1102], cityoflondon[4007], hackney[1962]
  • types of place - e.g. park[4890], building[3443], bridge[3443], tube[2480], market[1543], grove[381]
  • specific place names - e.g. londoneye[2195], stpaulscathedral[1795], hydepark[1783], bricklane[1416], victoriaembankment[643]
  • types of social event - organised or emerging e.g. protest[5397], march[2652], party[2109], boxing[392], graduation[408], riots[704]
  • specific social events - e.g. londonmarathon[1271], royalwedding[1271], pride[1076], carnival[768], marchforthealternative[560]
  • emotive description - e.g. love[939], cute[428], awesome[427], happiness[479], freedom[393]
  • types of things - e.g. glass[1238], butterfly[442], fish[448], jaguar[458], porsche[525], volvo[464], television[399]
  • historic descriptions - e.g. victorianlondon[1356], artdeco[392], retro[477], historic[464], gothic[399], gradeiilisted[394], heritage[390]
  • photographic - e.g. bokeh[589], longexposure[555], canoneos7d[612], blur[465], tamron[384]
  • colour - e.g. red[3653], blue[3197], green[2547], blackandwhite[2344], yellow[1327], purple[448]

Multiple Tags - Images