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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.

Noam Galai's picture

Noam Galai is a Senior Fstoppers Staff Writer and NYC Celebrity / Entertainment photographer. Noam's work appears on publications such as Time Magazine, New York Times, People Magazine, Vogue and Us Weekly on a daily basis.

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Previous comments

If Flickr does not immediately return Israel to the map I will cancel my account and demand a full refund.  I do not do business with companies that cater to terrorists, and that's what this is, giving the Hamas terrorists what they want.

I dont think they care about wars and politics... I agree its super annoying the country is missing, and Im also a paying costumer. But... I really dont think its something they chose to do, and I dont think they decided to remove israel because its israel. It just happened that way, and I just hope this story will make them work faster on bringing Israel back! 

Nice to see a popular site use its power to (hopefully) help fellow photogs out. 

This has nada to do with politics. The only political part(s) of this story is:
1. The way the (rightfully sensitive & rightfully offended) author wrote the article.
2. The chance that some lone, stupid, and soon jobless person or persons within flicker removed details from the map of Israel because of the ongoing political situation there.

Its a problem that needs fixing and I think its awesome that Fstoppers is willing to get involved.

I would also say change the graphic this is not flickr versus Israel, its an issue with their mapping provider 

haha, who deleted my first post? That had 18 likes! 

Pretty funny that Noam doesn't like Flickr apparently "removing" Israel from its maps, but has no problems removing things HE doesn't agree with from his blog posts about it.

A new low. 

fantastic assumption as always, but writers cannot delete comments, only admins can. Rest assured that if any of the writers could delete you, we would.

The assumption isn't that "fantastic" if you then admit that it's exactly what you would do. 

 i would delete you a million times over. you are a poison

I should really ignore this, but I'll bite:

How exactly am I "poison"?

I don't think I make a single unreasonable post on this site. I'm vocal about what I like and dislike, and since you all post filler 24/7, I'm seemingly mostly vocal about what I dislike. 

Trust me, if you posted a bunch of awesome shit, I'd be the first to congratulate you on a decent update. I'm careful to do exactly that whenever something good is posted. 

The very fact that my posts get so many likes should point out that either I'm posting popular opinion, or the population are "poison" too.

No reply to this then?

Half of your comments are curses, or attacking people for their work or for their personal life... and you say you dont make any unreasonable comments around here? give me (and yourself) a break. You never get tired, huh? 

The problem is that my posts get a lot of likes. So I'll say again, either what I'm saying is reasonable, or your readers are all trolls. 

It's very easy, when you don't like what someone is saying, to accuse them of trolling. It's a lot harder to really look at yourself and ask if what you're saying is, perhaps, a bit stupid.

Take this update for instance. There's nothing contained in either the original post, or any of your comments that paint you as even remotely likeable. You really do seem like quite a sinister, passive-aggressive, subversive child.

The problem is that the new content writers, of which you are one, post a lot of diabolical shit. EVERYONE continuously calls you all out on it and in turn, you all ignore it.

You can hate me as much as you like, but at the end of the day, this is where I come for my photography news. If I don't get decent news, or I see some bespeckled worm like you trying to pot-stir and link bait, I'm going to call you out on it, because it's not the news I want. 

I want quality BTS content that engages, intrigues and inspires me. I don't give a shit about Lana Del-fucking-Raye, or what Flickr do with their shit maps service.

Once you idiots get this through your thick skulls, and you actually start making an effort to provide decent content, then you will see the tone of my comments improve.

I dont mind getting negative comments from people who dont like specific content. but: there is a way to say it. 

Its OK, if you decide who I am as a person based on a news story I wrote I cant blame you for anything. 
You can agree with me that if Google will take out USA from Google Maps for few weeks/months without giving any explanation - it will be all over the news: from CNN, FOX to BBC. Then you'll consider it as news? 
The fact is: its news related to photography, and another fact is that this post actually worked. Flickr brought Israel back to their maps in hours. Something that people tried to get them to do for a long time. 

The fact this specific story is not interesting to YOU, doesnt mean its not interesting to the few thousands other than you that read it here or on the HuffPost. You like watching just BTS stuff and thats fine. Some people like getting news related to photography as well.

No one told you you HAVE to read (and comment on) each article posted on this site. Some content might be interesting for you, and some might not... 
Im sure when you watch the news, 70% of it is stuff that you dont care about. Do you call them every night and curse them for that?

So yes, FStoppers have x7 more articles per day than it used to have a year ago. It means a lot of people might find stuff that is more interesting for them, and it also means some of it wont interest some of them... thats life. 

You missed one glaring point: Reaction to this update has been overwhelmingly negative, so don't blinker yourself by pretending I'm some lone wolf. 

The fact is, reaction to most of the new content writer's updates is, again, overwhelmingly negative. 

Honestly, I can't even be bothered to drag this out. It's not like you or anyone here actually listens. 

You all do what you just did there. Justify it with a lame "You might not like it but someone else will!".

The reality is that this is a shit update. It's a shit story, written by a shit writer, in a subversive, sneaky way that insinuates something quite sinister and, worse, untrue.

The fact that you've had to re-word the main update speaks volumes. 

Re:title - I listen, and if people are offended by the title so much that they cant concentrate on the content I really dont mind changing it. And thats what I did.

The fact some people didnt like the post itself.... thats fine. as i said, it happens.

Im glad I posted it, and again - the fact is: it worked. It made Flickr fix this issue and thats great. 
You have to stop thinking you're the center of the world, and if you dont like something - everyone else wont like it as well. 

Yours Truly,The Shitty person who wrote this shitty post and also the shitty commenter who just commented here.

Haha, If it was up to me your first comment would have been deleted the second you posted it. unfortunately for you - it wasnt me. I have permission to just write posts you dont like, cant help you with deleting bad comments.

The fact that you'd happily censor someone in a topic such as this shows exactly WHY you shouldn't be allowed to make these posts in the first place.

Your comment had nothing to do with this topic. All it was is a hateful message. So yes, happy to see someone removed it. 

My comment about Israel not being a country, had nothing to do with the topic about the country Israel not being included on a world map?

Interesting position to take. Interesting, and stupid. 

Sorry to disappoint you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel. I know, painful for you to realize that outside of flickr it actually exists... happens. 

no one has mentioned who the third party is.... Apple's Maps for ios! A local town had the reverse, all the street names but no title for the town.


I come on Fstoppers a lot to look at things about photography and never post despite some of the brain-dead sensationalistic content here(Never Seen Before Photos of Lana Del Ray) but I had to sign up just to say that this is one of the most tasteless things I have ever seen on this site...period.  I hope Flickr sues...honestly.  The title and picture couldn't be more misleading unless you were truly implying that Flickr has something against Israel and/or is anti-semitic.  This kind of drivel belongs in the NYPost; not a photography site.  A more credible title would have been "People rolling out Flickr software are incompetent because they left out some countries".  Ridiculous...just ridiculous. 


I remember finding this place and reading that the creator wanted it to be THE destination for BTS video and such...

The more they hire writers, the more shitty content it gets. Lee, please take back this site, do some Fstoppers originals, have a crew foloww you in a tipycal wedding, stop gear reviews and get back to photos/video knowledge.

fstoppers becomes so short-sightes site... and all for what? clicks,likes comments and viewers. i think you became too greedy for that.

Yikes, what an absurd post.  Is it this easy to get silly, non-issue, sensationalistic junk on fstoppers now?  To hint at anti-semitism with absolutely no information as to the source of the problem?  Disgraceful.

You get all the information available in this post. Wish Flickr had a better explanation on that matter... but at least now they know they cant ignore this issue. 

OMG! NUH AH! NO WAY! What ever will isreal do without being on a flickr thing?
Someone call the USA and ask for attacks and air strikes on flickr...


get a life, galai...

Just reporting news related to photography. Sorry about that.

You really are a fucking weasel. 

Thanks man. Great getting constructive comments from someone like you. Learning a lot from reading your super smart comments

okay. I was just looking at the map and everything in Israel showed up as Arabic as I got closer. Everything in Jordan stays English

Flickr fixed the issue and brought back Israel to their maps. Success.

I like flickr, and I like fstoppers. But flickr and yahoo has say 100 million users and fstoppers has say 5,000. Correct me if I am wrong on the numbers. flickr and yahoo probably are shaking in their boots because fstoppers is mad at them? ROTFLAMO. lets stick to photography. Or find another blog to read. Which the advertisers will be really impressed with i am sure.

PLEASEEEE - no more stupid posts like this one