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Instagram 3's new Photo Maps feature adds location to your photo stories

Instagram 3.0, the free photo sharing app for iPhone, is available and provides a number of enhancements. The most impressive is the new Photo Maps feature.

By grabbing geolocation information that is saved with each photo, Instagram creates a world map of your images by location. As you zoom in on each location, say Florida for example, you see locations in that state, then in each city.

You can add new photos to your Photo Maps through the new photo upload screen, which features a prominent Add to your Photo Maps button. Instagram has also increased the length of the captions you can add to each photo, and provides a way to name a location.

The app has some other improvements that make life a bit easier. There's now infinite scrolling when you're looking at images; when you get to the bottom of a page, more images are added automatically without having to tap a "load more" button. On the iPhone 4S, the app seems faster and more responsive in some limited testing.

It's also possible now to report individual comments as spam or obscenity by swiping right on the comment. You're given the choice of just deleting the comment, or deleting and reporting the comment. This addition is designed "to ensure Instagram is a safe and fun place to share your photos," in the words of the Instagram team.

Fellow TUAW blogger Megan Lavey-Heaton noticed that the filters can now be applied before you take a photo. I verified that, and also noticed that the tilt-shift and other focus filter can also be applied before shooting.

Photo Maps is a compelling feature that may just cause a lot of people to pick up their pace of posting to the Instagram photo sharing service. Instagram 3.0 is a free update; we'd recommend you update as soon as possible if you haven't already.

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