Israel No Longer Appears On Flickr Maps [UPDATE: Been Re-Added!]

Israel No Longer Appears On Flickr Maps [UPDATE: Been Re-Added!]

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:
Google Maps - Israel

The same exact view on Flickr Maps show the empty country:
Flickr - Israel maps

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.

Posted In: 
Log in or register to post comments

86 Comments

Liam's picture

umm.... isnt this the fault of the map service they are using and not flickr... sounds like a misguided or at the very least misinformed attempt to drum up some controversy...

http://maps.nokia.com/31.8993121,35.3073941,10,0,0,normal.day

Noam Galai's picture

Flickr Maps and Nokia maps are using an open map service called Leaflet. Leaflet uses a map database from another site called openstreetmap.org which  actually does have very detailed street maps of every city in Israel. So it means one of 2 options: 1. Someone decided to erase anything related to israel, 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's map. as a paying user - i dont care who is in charge of their maps - i want to see my country in there. 

Could be a bug/human error.

E.g. someone trying to update a town etc in Israel but accidentally deleting all! I've once done that - oops (Italy) !
Database replication could mean it's slow to come back once corrected.

Maybe it has something to do with this:
http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2012/08/28/us-preparing-for-a-post-i...

or maybe it was just a glitch....

Good, it's about time the world stopped recognising an occupying terrorist state as a country. 

If anyone is taking pictures in that part of the world, they just need to tag them as 'Palestine', because that's where they are.

Israel should be there like any other country in the world. Flickr have to fix it ASAP!!

2 likes!!!...this means that there are 2 other retarded people like you in this world....what a shame.

SteveO's picture

Dumb glitch that should be fixed. Reading any further into this is folly.

Noam Galai's picture

Glitch should be fixed within days. But no word from Flickr on this issue for weeks...  

Seriously? There's nothing going in the world of photography that is actually worthy of the news? Get off your high horse for once, this is just annoying.

Hi guys, this is Pino from Nokia.
Just to be clear, Israel was not taken out of the map.

Nokia has maps for almost 200 countries that power services like Bing Maps, Yahoo! Maps and since roughly one year also flickr.
Unfortunately, we currently do not have high quality maps for Israel, which is why your mapping experience on flick is poor. We are working on it because we are committed to extend or improve our map coverage everywhere.

Noam Galai's picture

1. Flickr might be using Nokia Maps for most of the countries, but also uses OpenStreetMap data for cities/countries Nokia Maps dont have enough data for.  
2. OpenStreetMap have a very detailed map of Israel. If flickr are using them for places like Beijing or Tokyo - they can use it for Israel. 

Joop van Roy's picture

You really think that Flickr has a problem with isreal, that they 'deleted the country' on purpose? This is inane.

Noam Galai's picture

not sure - just raising the issue. waiting to hear back from Flickr

Avrohom Perl's picture

Update us Noam if anything happens.

I'm with you :) 

Pages