Travel

Instagram are removing the map feature

A few weeks ago I noticed that the map icon had been removed from my Instagram app (on Android). Surprised and wondering where it had got to, I did some Googling and discovered that Instagram have decided to stop supporting the feature because it’s underused. They say they’re going to be focusing on other features.

A few weeks later, again to my surprise, the button was back. I wondered if they’d decided that people had responded too negatively to the idea to remove it. Then, a few days after that, a notification popped up when I opened the app, this time to tell me that they were going to remove the feature.

Make your mind up Instagram! More importantly, please make your mind to keep it.

instagram-is-removing-the-map-function
It’s cool that you can see not only where the pictures were taken but also, when you zoom out, that you can see how many were taken in an approximate area

I like the map function. For those who don’t use Instagram, it means that if you tag the location of a photo when you post it, it adds it to your map. Then you can use the map view to see where all those photos are pinned. I love to look back at the maps this way, zooming in to see all the places I’ve posted in Glasgow, or zooming out to see photos of places I’ve travelled to.

instagram-is-removing-the-map-function
And then, as you zoom in, the clusters of photos divide into smaller groups so you can see more specifically where the photos were taken.

It’s a major part of what appeals to me about Instagram. I’m kind of a social media junkie (I know, shocker, right?) and the documenting of stuff is part of why. When I can add a location to a photo it makes it feel much more data rich, but if I can’t then visualise that data in a meaningful way, it’s kind of a waste. The map view was perfect.

It’s a shame that Instagram thinks it’s underused and therefore not worth supporting but, in their defence, they’ve got to make money somehow. If it’s more profitable for them to get rid of the map function then that’s the only thing that makes sense for them as a business, it’s just that it sucks for users like me who like it.

This might once again push me back to Flickr. I’ve never been 100% convinced by using Flickr, it’s not quite what I’m looking for. On the other hand, it does have a map function… it’s not as nice as the Instagram one, but it fulfils my desire to view the places I’ve tagged photos in.

instagram-is-removing-the-map-function
This is fine I guess…

I guess there’s also Google Maps, but the photos I post there are really photos of businesses that are intended to be useful, rather than pretty pictures. It’s interesting in it’s own way but it’s not what I’m looking for.

Ah well, I guess for the time being I’ll use Instagram for posting the pretty pictures, will re-post a bunch of them on Flickr for location tagging and will continue with business pictures on Google Maps. However, if anyone knows of a service that neatly replaces the one that Instagram is killing, I’d love to hear about it.

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