Maps are more than just a resource for getting from A to B. They’re also a resource for research and exploration. Flickr and Dopplr own this space. Accidentally.
Flickr introduced geotagging photos just over two years ago. Now there are nearly 90 million geotagged photos and Places. And Flickr users love contributing data. This results in precise documentation of what places look like and what area they cover. No, that isn’t China Town, Flickr. It’s Old Town. Thanks for only requiring me to tell you once.
I don’t use Dopplr because it scares me, but they recently updated city pages to include maps, Flickr and lots of facts. A city’s popularity over time is revealed. Favorite places are discoverable. Social atlas indeed.
These maps are meaningful because they aren’t sites built for the sole purpose of populating a map with data. They have a different purpose that happens to reveal mapable data. Just like social network sites built just to be social networks aren’t as functional as those whose network is built around a more tangible purpose.