Geocoding is the term used to describe converting a phrase representing a location in to a specific latitude and longitude. Reverse-geocoding is the inverse process used to translate machine-generated geographic data in to place names that people can understand and relate to. History and geography remain powerful anchors by which we orient ourselves to our communities and the world at large. This is reflected in the practice and evolution of story-telling and the naming of place and the disputes that sometimes follow. As locative technologies play an increasingly important role in all aspects of daily life so too will the ability to interpret and contextualize the abundance of data produced in the precise but distant language of machines.
This paper will examine both the technical and conceptual challenges involved in naming geographic "places" focusing on a variety of models used by different social networking sites with an emphasis on the approaches used by Flickr to identify and label geotagged photos and to allow community input when errors or conflicts occur.
Keywords: maps, geography, flickr, naming things, community