Geo-What? Geo-Tagging Your Photographs

Geo-What? Geo-Tagging Your Photographs

Written 13 years ago by Mark Evans

Picture this: You’re browsing through your vast collection of digital images one day, when a pretty stunning photo catches your eye, looking vaguely like it could be from some far flung corner of the globe with hints of the tropics, taken when you travelled through that country that time. Or was it somewhere else? You’re not really sure where that is anymore! Sounds familiar to me, and if you’re anything like me, my memory isn’t great. So when I’m travelling, the photos I take act like part of my memory. But when it comes to looking at your photos and your mind goes completely blank, then it feels like the photo loses something. However, it is in these moments where Geo-Tagging comes to the rescue.

What is Geo-Tagging?

Geo-Tagging is basically the process of saving the GPS co-ordinates of your location when you take a picture. There aren’t many cameras that can do this at the moment, but the ones that can, save your latitude and longitude into the photos’ EXIF data, so when you download your photos, each location you’ve snapped a picture at can be plotted on a map. This is perfect for knowing exactly where you’ve been and when. And of course if you ever wanted to get back to that spot in the photo because the weather wasn’t too great, and the photo you took wasn’t perfect, then it’s not a problem. Photo websites such as Flickr and Panoramio can also plot your photo locations if you upload geo-tagged photos and applications such as Picasa3 and Google Earth will plot your photo locations too.

How do I Geo-Tag?

It seems crazy to me but the number of mobile phones (cell phones) that can geo-tag, far outnumber the digital cameras that can, but that’s just the way it is at the moment. So how can you geo-tag your photos? Well one option would be to take one of these geo-tagging mobiles with you, and take a picture with it when you take one on your digital camera, but then you have to match them up later, not ideal. If you don’t mind point and shoots then Nikon produces the Coolpix P6000, a pretty impressive 13.5 megapixel camera that can shoot RAW and hook up to your home network. Ricoh produces the 500se, an 8 megapixel camera that’s looks pretty rugged but its no SLR, and as of yet, there’s no DSLR that will Geo-tag out of the box. However, if you own a Nikon DSLR then you’re in luck; Nikon recently released the GeoPic II, a GPS module that slides into the hotshoe and enables geo-tagging.

The concept of Geo-Tagging is still in its infancy, as shown by the limited number of products on the market, but I would expect this functionality on many DSLRs in the near future, in fact I would hope it would be a standard feature when they do eventually build it into DSLRs, but for now the rest of us will either have to wait or eat more brain food to improve our memory.

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Antonio Marques  13 years ago

Actually there are many geo-tagging products that work outside of the camera (with any camera) by synchronizing a GPS track log to the time a certain photo was taken. I’m even fairly sure that if you can get the log files from the GPS on your mobile, you’ll be able to use them to geo-tag your images. I’ve reviewed one of these products (again, one of many) if you’re interested (http://www.tzplanet.com/words/atp-photofinder-mini-reinventing-geotagging-product-review/176).

Ann  13 years ago

I’m using my iPhone as a GPS data logger. There is an iPhone app specifically made for this purpose (http://www.galarina.eu/GeoLogTag/How_To).
I switch the app on before I start shooting photos and turn it off afterwards. GeoLogTag exports a GPX file that contains the tracklog of my photoshoot. I use the GPX file with HoudahGeo (www.houdahgeo.com) on my Mac to geotag the photos. I import the geotagged photos in iPhoto’09 where they show up on the map.
It’s pretty easy to do. From now on I’ll geotag every photo I take.

Anonymous  13 years ago

Love the concept – there are web apps that allow you to upload your geo tagged pics and have them displayed as thumbnails on a world map – which you can then zoom in on, write descriptions for etc…

XposurePro Photography Community  13 years ago

this actually helped me in the past .. last summer I was able to find a spot I couldn’t remember how to get to.

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