An academic analysis of more than 33 million images uploaded to the popular Flickr photo-sharing website reveals that the flagship Apple Store in midtown Manhattan is the 28th most photographed place on earth.
The findings show that the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, which opened in May 2006, is more popular than many other well-known tourist sites such as St Paul's Cathedral in London, the Reichstag in Berlin and the Washington Monument in the US capital.
The store, which features a giant glass cube facade with a suspended Apple logo inside, is also the fifth most photographed landmark in New York after sites such as the Empire State Building, Times Square and Grand Central Station.
The research was published in a paper presented at the WWW 2009 conference in Madrid last week by a group of academics from Cornell University who had analysed 33,393,835 photos posted on the website by 307,448 users.
Studying the geotagged data which users attached to their photos, the researchers wanted to establish what the world's most popular landmarks were as judged by the collective wisdom of Flickr users around the world.
Among some of the other findings are:
:: New York City is the world's most photographed city with more than 12 million of the photos taken there.
:: The top seven most photographed landmarks are the Eiffel Tower, Trafalgar Square, the Tate Modern Gallery, Big Ben, Notre Dame, the London Eye, and the Empire State Building.
:: The top 10 most photographed cities are New York, London, San Francisco, Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Seattle, Rome and Amsterdam.
The research team was led by David Crandall, a former computer engineer at Kodak who is now a post-doctoral associate at Cornell's Department of Computer Science.
"The Apple Store landmark is an interesting and surprising result, but it's important to remember that our Flickr data is a heavily biased representation of the world," Crandall said in an email.
"Flickr seems to be most popular in North America and Western Europe, so landmarks outside those areas are likely to be under-represented."
Crandall added that people who used Flickr were also probably more likely to be interested in technology - and hence more interested in the Apple Store - than the average person.
Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo, is one of the world's most popular photo-sharing sites.
Crandall said the data showed that the five most photographed Australian cities were Sydney (ranked 34th), Melbourne (78th), Brisbane (201st), Perth/Fremantle (223rd), and Canberra (327th).
He said the data showed that the top landmarks in Australia included the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, the Yarra River and Sydney's Centrepoint Tower.