The Top 25 Cities Photographed on Flickr

A group of scientists at Cornell have analyzed Flickr to come up with a list of the top 25 photographed cities on Flickr using something called “mean-shift clustering.”

As they explain it (GEEK ALERT!):

“Mean shift is a non-parametric technique for estimating the modes of an underlying probability distribution from a set of samples, given just an estimate of the scale of the data. In our setting, conceptually there is an underlying unobservable probability distribution of where people take photographs, with modes corresponding to interesting or important places to photograph. We are only able to observe the locations at which people take photos, from which mean shift allows us to estimate the modes of the underlying distribution. The mean shift approach is well-suited to highly multimodal probability density functions with very different mode sizes and no known functional form, such as we have here.

Mean shift operates by directly estimating the gradient of the probability density from the samples, in contrast with estimating the density itself as is done with kernel density methods such as Parzen windows. From zeroes of the gradient, local maxima of the distribution can readily be determined. In fact the mean shift calculation is an iterative procedure that uses the gradient estimate as an update, so when the gradient vector is (near) zero magnitude the procedure directly yields an estimate of the location of a local maximum of the underlying distribution”


Here’s the top 25 most photographed cities on Flickr. Congrats if yours made the list.

1. New York City
2. London
3. San Francisco
4. Paris
5. Los Angeles
6. Chicago
7. Washington DC
8. Seattle
9. Rome
10. Amsterdam
11. Boston
12. Barcelona
13. San Diego
14. Berlin
15. Las Vegas
16. Firenze
17. Toronto
18. Milano
19. Vancouver
20. Madrid
21. Venezia
22. Philadelphia
23. Austin
24. Dublin
25. Portland

Personally I’m surprised that Asia doesn’t show up anywhere on that list. If you really want to dig into their research, you can read their entire study here.

Be Sociable, Share!
Loading Facebook Comments ...


  1. My city didn’t make the list. Better luck next time, Little Rock!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Where is Prague? That’s bad…

  3. Rob says:

    California=3!! Woo Hoo!

  4. Jim says:

    I too am surprised that Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Sidney are missing.

  5. genel blog says:

    thank you so much,

  6. 锅蒸之鱼 says:

    The reason of why no Beijing and Shanghai, the most populous cities in the world, on the list is that Flickr being blocked by Chinese government. As a Chinese, shame on this!

  7. Hitesh says:

    w00t madrid!

    Although I’ve also contributed towards many others on that list too

  8. Bud Gibson says:

    It’s clear that the flickr sample is biased away from Asia, which begs the question: Is asia just not photographed as much? Or, are Asian photographers showing their photos in other ways?