Just heard about a really cool flickr visualization called Tag Galaxy (Thanks, Mike!). When you visit the site you can search flickr for a particular tag and then build a stack of related tags to narrow a search. Related tags are displayed in a 3D visualization in the style of a planet with each related tag displayed as a smaller satellite object orbiting the original “planet.” As you click through each additional tag in the stack, the process repeats narrowing the search. When you are finished narrowing your search, you simply click the central “planet.” Images meeting your search are arranged as the outer surface of the sphere. You can click and drag to rotate the sphere and click on individual images to pull them out and show them in front of the rest on the sphere. Another click brings the full image up and provides some of the flickr metadata and a link to the flickr page for the image.
As a visualization that provides an easy way to browse a large number of related images quickly, this tool is very successful. Often, 3D interfaces do not provide the most efficient means to accessing data. But in this case, there’s and excellent fit. Take a moment to check out the site. It’s definitely worth the bookmark.