Sunday, July 09, 2006

VCarious Travel adds Google Maps-based Photo and Journal Searching

Explore the World | VCarious Travel

The travel blog and social software website,, has recently added the ability to scan over a Google Map to find photos, journals (travel blogs/diaries), and wiki guides for different parts of the world.

The feature is still in beta, but seems to work well (other than being a bit overloaded on their server when they first put the feature up a few days ago). You can zoom in on the map to filter out photos and journals for geographic areas you are not interested in. And you can filter the photos by set category tags, such as Oceans, Landscapes, Cities, Wildlife and Travelers, or by typing locations or photo titles.

The photos are not very large, however, probably due to the fact the Vicarious allows unlimited uploads and its upload tool allows you to pull entire folders off your computer and from a account. It is possible to get to a larger version of each photo, but is takes several clicks and is not intuitive. (By comparison, has nice, big photos readily viewable on its travel blogs.) And, of course, for the photos to show up on the map Explore page, the photos need to be tagged to a location. Vicarious allows you to locate all the photos uploaded as a batch in one simple step, and allows you to title each photo at the time of upload in a very quick and easy way.

The wiki guides allow similar filtering and searches, while the journals can be searched by "concepts" only, which I assume are words that appear in the journals. As a relatively new website, Vicarious does not have the entire world covered, and only has about 350 members listed on its site. I must say, though, that Vicarious has gone through an entire facelift since the first time I visited the site a couple of months ago. They have also addes a route-tracing map tool (connecting the destinations on trip with a line), which I had not seen before (though it is not as flexible as a similar tool on MyLifeOfTravel, which allows several locations to be placed in each blog entry).

The new map searching capability on is really nice and is an attractive tool for those of us who take LOTS of photos on their travels that they want to share. Check it out by clicking on the blog title above.

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