I'm not seeing a way to search in a particular part of the globe, but have found a method that gives a fairly high hit rate:
- incategory:"Media with geo-coordinates needing categories" 40° 73° 59
for example gives me mostly western New York City, my home and area of interest. Moving the numbers farther west gives a big drop in hit rate; perhaps someone can suggest improvements. Jim.henderson (talk) 18:51, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
Upcoming change to search - using the search bar will always go to results
As you may recall, several years ago the wikis got a new search engine. Search has overall greatly improved the quality of life since release, but unfortunately it was never optimized for some of the sites like Commons.
There is an upcoming change related to this. Currently, when you use the search bar at the top of the page, if there is an existing page on Commons for that word the user will be taken to that page instead of the search results for the word. For example, if I come to Commons to look for a picture of a dog, I'll put "dog" in the search box. Instead of getting the results from Special:Search/Dog, I get the page Dog. This was not intended behavior for Commons; going directly to the page is behavior intended for Wikipedias. The intended behavior for Commons is what Special:Search does, which is present a list of potential matching files in addition to links to the page Dog. To be clear, when searching after this change, you will still be presented with the link to the page Dog as your first option.
This change will not be alone, there will be more changes in the future to how search is served on Commons. The benefit of manually curated pages when search results are messy can be clear, but it leaves out a significant amount of media. By making some changes over time, cleaning up the search results page will be beneficial. Keegan (WMF) (talk) 00:50, 3 December 2019 (UTC)