What features should we add to Photosynth?

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  • Updated 7 years ago
We've got our backlog list of things that we know will make Photosynth better, but I'm sure we're only seeing some of the opportunities here. What would make Photosynth drmatically more useful and fun for YOU?
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David Gedye, Principal Group Manager

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Posted 12 years ago

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JohnSkliros

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I think a good start would be to get it working! Seriously, I downloaded and installed it and it just doesn't recognise that it has been installed (XP SP2).
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Peenie Wallie

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There are a lot of comments that the product needs the following:
* the ability to specify a starting point image
* the ability to give app hints on how the images connect
* the ability to link one synth to another synth
* a preview before upload
* an option to abort the upload if synth% is too low
* more reliable upload/publishing
* better error handling
* an option to view the log file

These are all much needed, no doubt. But the greatest let-down in my opinion is that the app doesn't make any attempt to construct a virtual 3d world from the images. All it really does is show a progressive series of flat images that have been photo-cobbled together.

What I wanted, (since you asked), was to have the software assemble the images into a 3D virtual world that the viewer could spin around in 360 degrees endlessly, and then zoom to any point for a closeup.

What we get is something much different than this.

I made a lot of different photosynths this weekend. I followed the directions in the video tutorial and in the .pdf (the directions are markedly different). I tried standing in the center of the room and spinning 360 degrees, taking a frame every 15 degrees. I tried standing in the corners and blanketing the room from each corner, and also from the middle of the walls, as instructed.

My hope was that the software would then seamless stitch the images together and create a 3D virtual world where the viewer could fly though with a mouse like they were riding a flying carpet. I was, of course, in for a Microsoft scale of disappointment.

Instead, (if it works), then for every position where you stood and pivoted to shoot pictures, you now have inadvertently created a unique physical location that a Photosynth viewer must navigate to in order to see those images. Argh!

The PhotoCobble team has managed to drag all of the limitations of meatspace into virtual world.

There should not be a separate movement from one "shooting position" to the next. Zooming in on a photo and movement should be one-and-the-same. In the virtual world, it doesn't make sense to separate the two. When I zoom into a photo, it is (or should be) the exact same as moving in that direction. Then, when I turn to the right, I should see what is on my right. I should be able to spin 360 degrees, and not hit the end of the photostitched panorama.

I find walking from point to point awkward, counter-intuitive, and tedious.

The goal should be to stitch the images into a viewable model using QTVR (QuickTime Virtual Reality) or DevalVR. Until then, I'm going to look for something else. This Beta version of PhotoCobble is too aggravating to play with any further at this point.
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Arrow

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@Peennie, for someone who is not going to use the product you sure spend a lot of time trying to criticize it. I think that PS is in its first public release very mature. It has a lot of potential and I can even imagine that in the future it will allow the rendering of a real 3D world. But that is not what this product was meant for. It is now a extraordinary slideshow that allows viewing a 3D 'like' world placing the pictures in its context.
But then again there are always people more than willing to breakdown effort of others....
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Peenie Wallie

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Right. All of the feedback and suggestions I posted above for improvement don't count because I don't just fawn all over the product. You're right. My bad. My input is totally useless. Maybe they should filter the post so that only glowing praise is allowed? Good idea. :)
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Peenie Wallie

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Arrow - That's right. All of the feedback and suggestions I posted above for improvement don't count because I don't just fawn all over the product. You're right. My bad. My input is totally useless. Maybe they should filter the posts so that only glowing praise is allowed? Then y'all can all just post how grand it is and hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Good idea. :)
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Arrow

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No you are mistaking me now. I think the bulletlist in your initial post is very ok. But in the next paragraph you are mistaking the purpose of this tool. It's initial setup is to show images in there context. I'm just saying that your criticizing it on that part is out of bounds. The first tags shall be put into perspective of the development team. But boy are you kicking sore toes on this forum... hahaha... And keep up the "I'm the crying in the dark". Suppose you get your kicks from getting into places you are not supposed to get into. Maybe the developmentcenter where they are working on PhotoSynth would be a nice challenge for you ;-)...
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Warren

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I think your suggestions for improvement are great. But I also think PhotoSynth is one of the most amazing pieces of software I've ever seen. Almost magical. Hard to believe it exists. I look forward to improvements, but I like it a lot like it is.
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jed

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I love all the ideas but working faster is what is killing this, how about the ability for me to hint at where pictures will come together. oh and it seems like being able to add and remove picture would be better than remaking the whole thing when you want to change something. those poor over worked severs.
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sfla

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*** SEARCH FILTER ***

I would like a search filter ... there's alot of good one, but way more crappy ones. And we are only able to see the last 50 pages worth of Synth Jobs.

How about being able to search for % Synthy, number of photos, how long ago was it synthed (last 2 hrs, last 24 hrs, last 2 days, etc) or a date range.

And then perhaps, having the ability able to tag our favorite ones.

:o)
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srblackbird

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An option 'shutdown PC when done.'

Save the environment ;-)
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Scottt

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I am sure like most web based services, the current 20 GB limit may start to increase over time, so I am assuming photosynth may too.

But one thing that I think would be a nice feature is to take archive worthy synths and move them to a "museum" or some other exhibit space. The key point here would be that the synth size would no longer count against the personal storage limits of that user. This could encourage users to put together more complex (larger) synths without worrying about running out of space if they have something the masses really like.

To judge a synth to be worthy of eternal persistence, some basic guidelines could be set such as minimum synthy level or number of photos. Once it passes the basic threshold, then of course open it to voting. This of course could also provide a new way to explore synths (another tab).

While your at it, you really need to provide for a simple way of adding a viewed synth to your own personal bookmarks so you can find it again. With the number of synths out there, I am finding (or lack of) it difficult to revisit a synth that is not on the main page.
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Sanshyuum

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Awesome idea dude!! I would definitely be willing to go down to my local landmarks/museums if this was implemented.
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mmcknight

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Screen saver viewer
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bitplane

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Already possible and easy for a user to make without wasting Live Labs' valuable time.. Just a standard screensaver with an IE ActiveX control, then use the embed option to embed the synth, then send the keystroke to begin the slideshow using the sendkeys API. Would be an ideal hobby project for someone just starting out in one of the .Net languages, and guaranteed to make their website/blog popular (great for pagerank and may even make some advert revenue!)
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Capo

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I notice that if / when my synth is not 100% it sort of "clumps" together possibly several groups of images that do synth. On occassion there are also "orphan" images that sit at the bottom of the thumbnail view listing all by themselves and they are available as a stand alone slide - maybe these could be auto-discarded with a note telling the user what slide was discarded as it did not match any of the clumps? I find I am usually deleting these individual slides and then re-synthing. Maybe this could be an automated step?
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Arrow

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No no no no, please not that. It would be ok if that's a choice but having a Synth of a for example a pary will result in several synthed sets and maybe one of two seperate ones. But i would still like to see all of them...
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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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Scottt and Sanshyuum, 20GB is quite a lot of space-- not many of *us* have reached our quotas yet. For the couple who have, we've just increased the limit :). If you're motivated enough to fill your 20GB with fine synthiness, just send any of us an email and we'll be happy to increase your limit!
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Dan

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I look forward to trying when a mac version is available...I would also be curious to know your thoughts on applying this "meta-verse" to data management...particularly healthcare where we have a new stealth co. in development. Discussed with Microsoft scouts last week for second time. Would relish an opportunity to chat more with you Blaise...know you are busy. Enjoy, Dan
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haydenhibbard

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That's great to hear that we could possibly get more space. Thanks. Time to syth a lot more stuff, I think.
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sprior

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What does the donut mean? I created a 100% synthy layout of my workshop and sometimes a horizontal donut appears and I don't know what that means/does.
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Arrow

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this means you have an "inner 360 view" ... you can go over the donut and it will show you segmented highlights that represent the portion/angle to which you can switch. In fact it is the same principle as having a "rectangle" that is highlighted when you move over it.
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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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sprior, donut, or 'halo' as we call it, appears in certain places in certain synths-- when an 'object' is detected. What's an 'object'? It's when multiple shots seem to be focusing in on something from different angles but from a similar distance. Then, you see the halo in those shots. It goes away if you don't move the mouse. You can drag the halo to move among the object shots. You can also click on other available segments of the halo to move around that object, e.g. if available, go to a back or side view in a single click. Holding Ctrl to reveal the pointcloud while you drag the halo can be fun.
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Warren

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I love the halo. Wish there were an easier way to find the halos without getting close. Like a "show all halos" key, or a "next halo" key.
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kenmizell

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I have several photogroups that are not 100% synthy... maybe they are only 50% or so, but they should be (or could be)...

if you are looking for new features, how about a feature to allow a user to "Help photosynth stitch more of these photos together"

I immagine looking at the grid view and grabing an image from one group and draging it over an image from another group (manually) then seeing those two images side by side in an editor mode where i can teach photosynth that these two images are of the same thing... maybe by picking 5 or 6 points in each photo that are the same points on the same object?

you can see multiple examples of this in my Kauai heli tour http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=1...

and a smaller example in my front yard:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=9... going to this link and clicking on the grid view shows 3 groups and 4 remainder pictures... If I could "help" I think this could be 100% synthy.

;)
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senju

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I sugguest in future version a way to add sound tags to each photo. Add sound and even music as you move around. Also a way to overlay a 2 rendered groups: One day and One night. Then have a scroll bar on the side to change from night to day (on the fly). That would be so cool.
Finally, if you can add 3d objects and simple animation like a door opening and closing. I am excieted to see where this technology will go and how it will develop in the next 5 years. :D Keep up the great work!
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alainsr

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Hi. I've just seen firsts synths and read the guides to better synthing, and by watching the video and demos of taking dozens of pictures of an object or room, I thought Photosynth would save our time if it could treat VIDEO FRAMES as pictures, i.e., synth video frames directly!

That would spare time and effort. It is easier to walk around a statue filming it than stopping, taking a picture, walking and stopping again, etc.

Another huge thing, which the developing team probably thought already, is to connect produced synths to Live Maps, which will work actually much better than Google's attempt to provide a architecture software to build things and link it to Google Maps.

And by doing it with both videos and pictures (and by making it possible to add pictures and frames to a previously made synth), public spaces would be quickly upgraded.

Oh, and there's something else that should be addressed in a further stage: the date (and maybe time) of the picture/video frame. Why? Because if I can add a pictures to a previously made synth, my pictures may represent a different state of that building, for example.

Imagine Times Square. It would be possible to have several synths for it: one in September/2008, one near Christmas/2008, one one new year's eve/2008, etc. That because it wouldn't actually be the same space (or, seen from another angle, the same space wouldn't have the same look), and because it would be really hard to synth those pictures from so different situations.

These were my brainstorm ideas when discovering Photosynth. (I confess I haven't read all the replies to see if any of these were already posted.)

Thanks and good luck, team!

Alain (Rio, Brazil)
alainsr@gmail.com
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Arrow

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Why don't you just extract the frames from a movie then. Just shoot your film and then extract the images. That way you'll have a lot of input. Just remember one thing.
A film will have motion blurr. That is not very nice on a picture.. set your cam in a, lets say, 10 FPS if you can do that and move your cam slowly through the room. (I'd rather use my continues shoot on my cam.. it will shoot 60 pictures or so .. with small interfalls) Just press the button. and walk the walk ;-)
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kinlough

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I havnt read all of the replies because there is sooo many amazing and intuitive ideas! However my suggestion would be to allow the software to fill in any spaces and allow this to be a downloadable 3d Model!
This was inspired by the national geographic picturs of the sphynx which when i pressed CTRL to view the "cloud" i could basically work out the 3D shape that is the Sphynx itself. so therefore maybe if the software was allowed to do some calculations as to fill in as many spaces on the cloud of points that could complete the model. As to be fair the image isn't likely to have a huge spike coming out so because of this the model could be created with some simple improvisation of pixels!
Thanks for your time!
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kinlough

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Im back again once again i dont know if this has been suggested but oh well!
it would be great if there as a drop down menu for searching criteria such as "More than 20 images" in the project or " most viewed" etc thanks!
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RainerBre

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It would be great to have the possibility to export the 3D point cloud into a XYZ ACSII file....
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alan

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Sry, should have this here
http://getsatisfaction.com/livelabs/t...
My ideas

wow, what a good statue kinlough :¬)
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alan

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David Gedye, Principal Group Manager

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When I wrote this question many months ago I wasn't thinking properly about how Get Satisfaction works, and I realize now that by posing this as a specific question, I've ended up with literally hundreds of great ideas buried in comments here. Not good.

So, I'm hereby requesting that we all stop posting new ideas on this thread, and instead open up new "Idea" postings with new ideas as you have them. That way the next person to have that good idea will see that it already exists, and simply append a me-too, or a comment to it.

Apologies for not thinking of this earlier!
David.
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stealthtech

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David, do we have to repost? Or how will we know of an Idea that is already on your guy's/gal's list? I'm just a bit confused on how to take what is here disseminate what is not and then determine if I should start a new post or did you already get the Idea. For example I have the idea about renaming files. Should I leave that alone did you all get the idea? Or should I now start up a thread on that?
Should a few "Idea" thread already be started for those that need further discussion:
Like: navigation, adding hints, resynthing, adding photos, renaming, etc...
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stealthtech

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I'm a bit clearer now. I did not notice the tab “Share an Idea” on the Live Labs home page. Instead of “Ask a Question” (the default). Instead of adding to this thread we should select “Share an Idea”. Search first and if we don’t find something similar create a new one.
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Ken, Official Rep

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stealthtech look for an existing idea post here: http://getsatisfaction.com/livelabs/p.... if you see something that's close to what you want just add a "me too". it's the me too feature that makes the idea page so powerful because it allows an easy way to see what people are asking for.

to answer more directly, yes we'll check this post but if you really want to give people a chance to agree with and support your ideas then make sure they're posted as ideas.
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stealthtech

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I'm having a hard time getting to that from start page. When I click that link you sent I see "ideas in Live Labs about Photosynth". But how do I go from the start page "Recently active topics in Live Labs
" to that page? I see "Share an Idea" but that does not change anythign when I click on it.
How to go from here http://getsatisfaction.com/livelabs to http://getsatisfaction.com/livelabs/p...
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Ken, Official Rep

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stealthtech see my reply below with image
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Ken, Official Rep

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stealthtech, look for the two dropdowns that look like the ones below.
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creaturita

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Well, I think that it is almost done (it is a joke, it suppose is difficult). As I have seen in your videos and explanations you take the photo features (representative points) and put it in a 3D model comparing the photos. So at the end you have a 3d cloud of features in which you project 2d photos cutting those points depending of the angle of vision and position in the cloud.

¿it could be possible to make triangles with all those points, make some squares with them and put the texture that you have in the photo into it? Of course I would be nice to download it for 3ds and xaml.

What do you think?

Impressive job, you should be happy for working in that nice project.
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homermeyn

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I would like to be able to store and use my synths on my machine.
I have copyright and the processing is done on my machine so why can't I save my synths and (for example) transfer them to my laptop to view when not online.
I would also like to be able to link my synth to others with similar tags etc, as in the original presentation for Seadragon.
See here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWaOy3...
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Peenie Wallie

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The only reason that you can't do this is that Microsoft wants to control it. Similar to the way they say that you can't upload private synths, they have to all be public. Same deal on controlling the synths. They only run on Microsoft's website. You can't run them on your pc. Why not? Because they say so. Next.
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homermeyn

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That's what I thought. Unfortunately Microsoft still think that they rule the world, or at least, rule the world's computers.

Go linux!
Lets have an open source app that does the same but quicker and easier than MS.
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Arrow

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Hi Homer,
Well I've looked at sourceforge but you did not start a project yet. What's stopping you from creating one of your own.
Looking at your comment I suppose you'll have it ready next month so I'll check back then... pffffff
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Yuval Mishory

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I realize it's a lot of work, but would it be possible to...

1....Have the system automatically search for similarities between a new synth and existing synths, so that where applicable it would create a combined synth? The more pictures in a synth, the better the model, right?

2....Provide the user with an interface to select pictures from popular photo-management sites such as PicasaWeb, Flickr, Photobucket, etc.?

3....Provide the user with the opportunity to geo-tag a synth? This would enable a location-based search of synths, which would be extra-cool, especially when combined with a service like Virtual Earth or Google Earth.

Thanks,
Yuval