Sunday, November 11, 2012

Flickr – Israel no longer 'exist' on the map.


Flickr – Israel no longer 'exist' on the map.(IMRA).Flickr map of Israel shows only 3 cities - no streets (all other countries have details)
[IMRA: You can see for yourself that the map of Israel only has three cities and no street details while there are many cities and street details for every other country in the region by clicking on http://www.flickr.com/map/and looking at Israel.
email for complaining to Yahoo: CorporateSecretary@yahoo-inc.com ]
 Exclusive: Flickr took Israel out of its Maps.Written by Iddo Gennuth at 11/11/2012 19:49. Copied from: http://www.megapixel.co.il/english/archive/35519.

The exclusive story that we are publishing today is bizarre and some might say downright disturbing. flickr – one of the largest social photo hostingservices decided to remove the maps of Israel from its site. Despite numerous e-mails and phone calls, Yahoo! – flickr's parent company – refused to comment on the issue. We bring you the full story.
Taking Israel off the map.
Several weeks ago one of our long time writers, photographer Giora Pinhasi shared with us a bothersome discovery. As a long time user of the flickr photo sharing service he discovered that not too long ago the old maps of Israel (which used to appear on the site, although being relatively old and inaccurate) were removed completely. Only the names of 3 major cities got left – the rest – including cities, towns, villages and streets were all removed leaving practically a blank map of the entire country.
Pinhasi decided to contact flickr himself and try and find out if this is simply a technical glitch. After speaking with one company representative who did not supply any answers he was referred to flickr's costumer service which simply did not answer.
It's important to understand that beyond the principal matter, there is also a strong element of costumer care (or lack of) with the entire story.Israeli flickr users such as Pinhasi and many others simply can't use flickr' Geotagging service on their pictures and this is also true for tourists and anybody else taking pictures inside Israel.
If you take a closer look at the flickr map service you actually realize rather quickly that the maps used are not those of flickr (or Yahoo! for that matter – which suffer from the same issue) but are actually "powered byNokia". The Finish mobile giant has a map service known as Nokia Maps (very similar to Google Maps and other online street mapping services) which covers (almost) the entire world. However as you can see when looking at the maps on the Nokia site – Israel is completely blank (apart from 3 major city names).
Digging a bit deeper we realized something even more strange. flickr map service also uses an open map service called Leaflet (you can see the link on the lower right corner of the flickr map page). Leaflet uses a map database from another site called openstreetmap.org which – to our great surprise – actually does have very detailed street maps of every city in Israel…
Tel Aviv on the openstreetmap.org – every street is present – did flickr/Nokia took them out on purpose?

Not the first time.

This is not the first time international companies set up "virtual borders" for Israel. In 2011 facebook decided that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine (something that was eventually changed after pressure from large groups of facebook users and official Israeli representatives). A similar thing also happened with both Apple and the BBC during 2012. However this is the first time to our knowledge that the entire country was wiped clean from the map by a well known international company.
Current status.

When we here in MegaPixel first got the info about this story we decided to act and contacted Yahoo! – flickr's parent company in order to try and get some official answers. We were promised a response but after about two weeks of wait (including a direct phone call to Yahoo!'s headquarters and another failed promise for an answer) we decided to move forward with the article.
Our next step besides this article (which was published in both Hebrew and English) is to work hand in hand with our content partners on Israeli Channel 2 TV (MAKO/Keshet TV) to help spread the story.
How you can help?
Want to help get Israel back on the map? Here are a number of simple things
you can do which might have a big effect:
•Press Like and share the story with your friends.
•Publish and comment on the story on the Yahoo! page on facbook and the
Nokia page on facebook.
•If you know journalists and people working for the international media send
them the story and ask them to report on it.
•Have other creative ideas on how to spread the word? contact us and we will
be happy to help.
We shall update this article with any new information.
This is an English version of an article originally published on the Israeli
Photography website MegaPixel.co.il

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