With a new CEO, Yahoo! hopes to bring Flickr back to life and make it the number one destination for photographers. With the renewed efforts, as MegaPixel revealed today, Flickr may have made one bad move, as they have erased Israel from their maps. The name of the country is still there, and also the names of 3 cities, but anything other than that has been removed: cities, villages, streets and roads. So far no comment from Flickr on this issue.
This change to their map services means no one can use Flickr's Geotagging services on photos taken in Israel - whether they are citizens of the country, or tourists who visit Israel.
When looking at any other country on Flickr Maps, everything looks OK- everything appears. The only place on the globe that is missing is Israel, and to me thats weird. Why? Flickr is popular in Israel and even their Prime Minister is using it regularly. No one is sure if this was a conscious decision made by Flickr, or if its a bug in the system. Any attempt to get a response from the company has yet to be answered.
When using Google Maps, all towns and street names appear when looking for Israel:
The same exact view on Flickr Maps show the empty country:
Flickr are using an open map service called Leaflet. Leaflet uses a map database from openstreetmap.org - which actually does have a detailed map of every city in Israel. So it means one of 2 options: 1. Someone decided to erase anything related to israel on Flickr, or 2. something in the API is causing some issues and wont pass any info about Israel. The final result is the same: Israel is not on Flickr Maps.
I'm not sure what is the reason Flickr are not using OpenStreetMaps for Israel, the same way they use it for places like Tokyo, Beijing and other places Nokia Maps cant provide accurate maps for.
It's an interesting situation in the least, and possibly incredibly offensive at the most. Why do you think Israel has been excluded? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
UPDATE 1: As requested by our readers, we changed the title of this article.
UPDATE 2: The Huffington Post picked up the story and added details about the issue.
UPDATE 3: A representative from Yahoo! emailed the following note after reading the post on The Huffington Post: "The geographical data that appears on Flickr and Yahoo! Maps comes from a third party map provider and we are working with them to understand and improve the gap in geographic coverage that has been reported. Yahoo! always wants to ensure the best possible product experience for our users, and this falls short of those expectations. We are continually working to source and roll out coverage where there is room to provide greater mapping details. In particular, we hope and expect that you will see improved maps coverage of Israel shortly."
UPDATE 4: One day after writing this post, Flickr fixed the issue and added Israel back to their maps as seen below. Success. Thanks Flickr for addressing the issue.