The folks at Yahoo! Research have used flickr’s APIs to create a new way to look at the world. The TagMaps take tags from flickr and plot them on Yahoo! maps. The current implementation is slow and the display of pictures is not ideal, but it provides a good look at what geotagging can deliver.
As you move the map, you can see key tags in the map area. Tags often reflect major landmarks and neighbords; hovering on the tag shows associated pictures.
You can also limit pictures displayed to those taken at night. (This is based on the timestamps associated with pictures, so it relies on users having set the right time on their cameras.) I’d love to see this expanded to show pictures from a season (e.g. winter pictures) or a time period.
It’s a fun way to explore an area.
It’s also the future of local search – user-generated content combined with maps. One of the big problems I’ve always had with local search is that it requires you to know what you’re looking for. When I’m traveling, I’m not always sure what I’m looking for. Even at home, I often want to do something different. With World Explorer, you can see what others have found interesting.