With the prevalence of smartphones and the massive photo community that is Instagram, it’s no surprise that news outlets and journalists are more and more frequently turning to the service to source photos for major events. Unfortunately, Instagram’s search functionality is almost non-existent. That’s where the new open-source search tool QIS comes into play.
QIS — short for “Quick Instagram Search” — is an easy-to-use open source tool by developer Al Shaw of ProPublica that allows you to much more efficiently dig through Instagram in search of the perfect picture. Using Instagram’s API, Shaw developed the app to search shots by timeframe, location and distance from that location.
Sadly, the app is only as good as Instagram’s API allows it to be, something that Shaw admits has limited him quite a bit. For instance, you can’t search using hashtags or text, and results only go back a few months. Still, the app works pretty well even within those limitations. Here’s a sample search ProPublica performed for photos taken on May 2nd between Noon and 7pm at the New Orleans Fair Grounds — there was a Jazz Festival going on at the time:
You can get more info about QIS over on ProPublica’s Nerd Blog, or if you wanna try it out for yourself (and maybe make some modifications to the code) you’ll have to head over to GitHub and download the Ruby web app. For now, that’s your only option, but ProPublica may release a more user-friendly version in the future given enough interest.