Flickr Metadata Synchr

[Update 2007-02-24: My Flickr Metadata Synchr project is now live on CodePlex. I will keep the Wiki page on CodePlex updated and will not further update this blog post. If you are interested in the progress, you can subscribe to the Flickr Metadata Synchr project's RSS feed.]

I blogged previously on my digital workflow for photographs here and here. In that last post I described how I violated the golden rule of metadata. Now, I am thinking of writing an application that will fix this for me. I already thought of a name: the Flickr Metadata Synchr. Once I get a skeleton version of the app up-and-running, you will be able to view this project on CodePlex. If I fail miserably, the project will never show up 😉

Here is what I am planning of building:

Name of the application

Flickr Metadata Synchr


To synchronize relevant metadata added to images stored on Flickr with the original versions of those images stored locally on your hard drive.

Relevant metadata on Flickr is:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags
  • GPS location info

The synchronization will be one-way in the first release. The embedded metadata in EXIF, IPTC and XMP sections in locally stored images can be updated with the metadata of matching pictures on Flickr.


  • Ability to authenticate the user with Flickr, i.e., obtain a user token to let the app have read permissions for the user on Flickr.
  • Ability to select a folder with pictures on a local hard disk or network drive. Optionally include subfolders. These pictures will be called the local set.
  • Ability to select a set of pictures on Flickr. This set should belong to the authenticated user. Or the ability to select all pictures of the user tagged with a certain keyword. These pictures will be called the Flickr set.
  • Ability to let the app match pictures between the local and the Flickr set. Match will be done on “date captured”.
  • Ability for the user to cancel the matching process which might be time-consuming.
  • Ability to show the user the match that was made by the application to give the user the opportunity to review for any matching errors.
  • Ability to show the relevant metadata for pictures in both the local and the Flickr set.
  • Ability for the user to deselect matched image pairs that he or she does not want to process.
  • Ability to update the matched local images with metadata from Flickr.
  • Ability for the user to cancel the updating process which might be time-consuming.

Possible future functionality

  • Cache metadata retrieved from Flickr between app restarts to improve performance. Ask the user if it is okay to not update the data. If the user has made significant updates on Flickr, caching will cause more harm than good.
  • Ability to sync Flickr metadata the other way around. Read metadata from local images and update the metadata of matching pictures on Flickr.


Development tools

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