Uncornered Market » geotagging http://uncorneredmarket.com travel wide, live deep Sun, 20 Apr 2014 18:28:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Geotagging Photos: A Software Review and Tutorialhttp://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-photos-software-review-tutorial/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-photos-software-review-tutorial/#comments Sat, 22 Jan 2011 06:00:00 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=5576 By Audrey Scott

Readers often question whether geotagging photos is worth the time and effort. Of course, this is a personal decision based on, among other considerations, the volume of photos you take, the number of locations you visit over a period of time, and the importance of knowing the precise location where a photo was taken. Oh, […]

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By Audrey Scott

Readers often question whether geotagging photos is worth the time and effort. Of course, this is a personal decision based on, among other considerations, the volume of photos you take, the number of locations you visit over a period of time, and the importance of knowing the precise location where a photo was taken. Oh, and whether you have a bit of geek in you, like we do.

The sunset view we enjoyed while drafting this article — in context.

We still believe that geotagging is a valuable practice, particularly in the world of travel blogging.  When you upload your geotagged photos to your photo hosting site of choice (e.g., Flickr, SmugMug, Picasa, etc.), your audience can see a map like the one above (with geographic and topographic overlays) indicating where you took the photo.

So we offer a review of the latest photo geotagging software we use – PhotoLinker and HoudahGeo – and a brief tutorial on how to use it. With these software changes, our geotagging process has become more efficient, and dare I say, much more fun.

Technical notes: This tutorial is for those carrying external GPS dataloggers. We understand there will come a day when all digital cameras feature built-in geotagging. Until that day comes, however…

Dan and I both use MacBooks running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). The software reviewed below is for Mac users. My apologies to PC users; I won’t be offended if you stop reading right now.

We use the same geotagging process whether the photos are RAW (.NEF) files from our Nikon D300 or regular .jpg files from our handheld Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3.

Taking Data off Your GPS Datalogger

In our GPS datalogger review, we noted the requirement that our GPS datalogger be readable by the computer much like a USB drive, without the need for any proprietary software. The upshot: access to geodata is as easy as copying the files from the device to your hard drive.

Geotagging – Embedding Location Data into your Images with PhotoLinker

We previously used the free version of GPSPhotoLinker. It did the job in batch getotagging and manually adding location data to photos.

However, last year we upgraded to the paid version ($49.95) of this software (PhotoLinker 2.2.7), and we really enjoy the added functionality.  The latest version of PhotoLinker accepts a variety of GPS file types (including the .log files produced by our AMOD 3080), thus eliminating the step of converting the file to GPX format as we used do with GPSBabel.

PhotoLinker’s geotagging algorithm also no longer noticeably slows down my computer, and its mapping functionality makes it easy to manually geotag a photo using an address or location name. Here’s a walk-through of the three main methods I use to geotag photos using PhotoLinker: batch, manual using data from another photo, and manual using an address.

Batch Geotagging in PhotoLinker:

1. Go to Photos and select Load Photos form Files or drag and drop photos from your Finder window
2. Go to Tracks and select Load Tracks from Files or drag and drop GPS track files from your Finder window
3. Click on Geotagging Consule in the bottom right hand corner and click Auto.

4. Select the time zone for your camera with GMT settings. This will adjust the GPS files to the appropriate time zone.

5. Select your desired tolerance for geotagging in terms of seconds or meters. We usually choose between 600 and 1000 seconds to compensate for going in and out of buildings.

6. Select all photos (control-A) for geotagging and the console will tell you how many photos can be geotagged with the uploaded tracks and time constraints.

7. Click Geotag X Images in the right corner of the Geotagging Console box and then Write Changed Tags in the upper left corner of the window. This will embed the GPS location information into the metadata of the photo file.

Manual geotagging when you have GPS data from another photo
Let’s say you have a photo that falls outside the time constraints you have set, but you know it was taken near another geotagged photo, and you wish to geotag it with that photo’s location.

1. Click Manual in the Geotagging console.
2. Click on the photo with the embedded geodata. You’ll see the Latitude and Longitude data show up.
3. Then, click on the photo taken in the same/similar spot that is not geotagged. You’ll see that the same Latitude and Longitude information from the geotagged photo is there.
4. Click Geotag 1 Photo and voila, you have a newly geotagged photo.

Manual geotagging (when you have an address):
Say you took photos from a great meal at a restaurant, but didn’t have your GPS datalogger with you when you went out so you have no geodata. But, you know the address of the restaurant and want to geotag your food photos with that location. Here’s what you do.

1.  Click Manual in the Geotagging Console and click on the photo(s) you’d like to geotag.
2.  Type in the address (or street and city) at the top of the map. Zoom in and out to get to the desired level of detail and exactness.
3. Move the map around with the hand (you’ll notice the Latitude and Longitude information below changing as you do this) and put the desired geotagging point where the vertical and horizontal lines cross.
4. Click Geotag 1 Photo in Geotagging Console and Write Changed Tags in upper left corner of the window.

Note this address if you want the best Indian food in Prague, Czech Republic

Embedding Other Metadata into Photo Files
You can also use PhotoLinker to embed a title, description and tags/keywords to metadata of the photos. Choose Customize Metadata Tag Viewer under View in the navigation bar. Drag and drop the fields that you’d like to adjust (e.g., photographer information, copyright, etc.).

Be sure to click Write Changed Tags in the top left corner after making any changes.

Other Geotagging Software Options: HoudahGeo

HoudahGeo (Mac only, $30) also accepts a variety of GPS file formats, saving you the step of converting your files.

The HoudahGeo geotagging process is rather straightforward and quick. Step 1) Drag and drop photos; Step 2) Load a related GPS file; Step 3) Write the location data to the EXIF data of the photos (or upload directly to Flickr or Google Earth).

The downside to HoudahGeo, however, is that the interface does not make it easy to set time tolerance (where you have time gaps in your geodata). HoudahGeo also does not offer a thumbnail view of the images, nor the ability to add titles, descriptions, tags and other metadata to images during the geotagging process.

Correction: HoudahGeo does provide the functionality to add titles and descriptions through Inspector located in the Windows drop-down menu.

HoudahGeo also features mapping and manual geotagging functionality, but I prefer the implementation of these features in PhotoLinker.

Conclusion

For the flexibility and functionality of both batch and manual geotagging, we recommend PhotoLinker for its more sophisticated mapping options. It’s also just plain satisfying to document the ground you’ve covered: to map your trek or the day’s wanderings with a set of tracks and pin-marked photos to match.

A map of our Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal generated by PhotoLinker.

Disclosure: We were provided software licenses by both PhotoLinker and HoudahGeo for the purposes of this review. However, the opinions above are our own. Product links to Amazon include our affiliate code. The price to you remains the same, but we enjoy a small commission if you decide to purchase.

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GPS Data Logger Review: Geotagging Photos, A Hardware Updatehttp://uncorneredmarket.com/gps-data-logger-review-geotagging-photos-hardware-update/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/gps-data-logger-review-geotagging-photos-hardware-update/#comments Mon, 16 Aug 2010 03:04:24 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=4633 By Audrey Scott

Since our around-the-world journey began in December 2006, we have geotagged virtually all our photos so we can display a map with each one in our travel photo gallery. We do this for our readers; we also do it for ourselves as a step-by-step diary and reminder of where we’ve been. We recently updated some […]

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By Audrey Scott

Since our around-the-world journey began in December 2006, we have geotagged virtually all our photos so we can display a map with each one in our travel photo gallery. We do this for our readers; we also do it for ourselves as a step-by-step diary and reminder of where we’ve been.

We recently updated some of our GPS geotagging hardware and software and keep getting asked: “What GPS device are you carrying these days? Any changes?”

As one person remarked, “You guys are the only ones I know geotagging day in and day out. It’s not just a weekend warrior activity.” To put it another way, we’re hard on our gear and test it in all conditions.

We’ll begin with a GPS data logger hardware review in this post and follow up with the GPS geotagging software we use next.

Note: For a tutorial on what geotagging is and how to geotag your photos, see our 3-part geotagging tutorial series:

GPS Datalogger Hardware Change

When our previous Sony GPS-CS1 data logger began hiccupping, we knew it was time to re-evaluate. We now also both have Macs (the Sony was not Mac compatible), so a Mac-compatible GPS data logging device was in order.
After some research, we purchased the AMOD AGL3080; later, we were sent the i-gotU GT-200e device for review.

AMOD AGL3080iGotU GT-200e

The following is an evaluation and comparison of the two GPS dataloggers, their main features and key usage considerations.

CriteriaAmod AGL3080i-gotU GT-200eAdvantage
Size/weightLight enough to hang on side of bag. Supplied plastic hook broke, so we use our own metal carabiner and attach it to a belt loop or our camera bag.Exceptionally light – you forget it’s even there. Included velcro strap useful for wearing on your arm or attaching to a bag handle.i-gotU GT-200e
DurabilityFirst device failed after 8 months of use. Manufacturer replaced it for free and second one still works (8 months later).Failed after four months of regular use. At first it would turn off unexpectedly. Later, it was unable to take readings and would turn off after five minutes. Eventually, it wouldn’t turn on at all.AMOD AGL3080
Can withstand elevationHeld it’s own over two months from Machu Picchu to the Bolivian altiplano.Fine in high altitude situations in Peru and Bolivia.Toss-up
Power supplyTakes 3 AAA batteries. Lasts about 2 days on full charge.Charges via USB. Lasts about 2 days on full charge.Toss-up, depending on how you plan to use it.
Mac vs. PC compatibilityBoth. Hardware is driverless. Macs immediately recognize device.Only PC compatible. Possible to access on Mac using Parallels or similar virtual machine.AMOD AGL3080, particularly for Mac users.
Memory128 MB, 1 million waypoints64 MB, 262,000 waypointsAMOD AGL3080
Access to data on deviceEasy and driverless. Mac OSX and PC operating systems recognize the device as an external hard drive. Raw GPS .log files are easy to access and remove.Painful. Not driverless, so the device is not visible – either on PC or Mac – as an external hard drive. During our test, we were forced to install bloated, proprietary software to access geodata. Software allows you to export raw data to .gpx.AMOD AGL3080
GPS signal fix, access timeWithin 1 minuteWithin 1 minuteToss-up
Accurate readings6 modes, from 1-second to 10-second intervals5-second interval readings.Toss-up (we usually used 10-second mode on AMOD)
Water resistanceManufacturer does not highlight it, but we have not had issues when using in damp conditions (i.e., Antarctica)Water-resistant.i-gotU GT-200e
Power and signal indicatorsBright, easy to see green light when working.Can be difficult to read indication lights in bright light.AMOD AGL3080
Provided softwareAMOD GPS Photo Tracker. We did not use the provided software, since we use other GPS geotagging and photo-linking software.igotU Travel Blog Software. Proprietary software install required to access data on the device. All-in-one solution seems intended for users that new geotagging. Sometimes the software wouldn’t recognize the device and we’d have to try and restart the machine several times to get it to work. The support staff of this company tried to fix some of these bugs, but it never was a stable process.AMOD AGL3080
Price (from Amazon.com)$65.00$98.00AMOD AGL3080
ConnectorStandard USB-2 cable.USB-2 cable (with proprietary output connector from device)AMOD AGL3080

i-gotU GT-200e Summary
Size makes this device appealing. It’s good for day hikers, cyclists and weekend warriors who are PC users, new to geotagging and looking for an all-in-one geotagging hardware/software/website display solution.

But we all know size isn’t everything.

If you have any experience with GPS data logging and geotagging, you will probably find the software unnecessarily complicated. If Mobile Action decouples the hardware from the software by allowing driverless direct access to the data on the device, this would be a welcome improvement.

AMOD AGL3080 Summary
For us, the AMOD AGL3080 is notable for its Mac compatibility and easy access to raw data (.log format). Our Mac OSX laptops recognize it as an external hard drive.

Because it takes AAA batteries, it’s possible to use on an extended trek, provided you have replacement batteries or you have rechargeable batteries, a charger, and access to electricity.

Note: If you don’t fully turn off the AMOD AGL3080 device completely before taking the batteries out, you run the risk of corrupting data on its built-in drive. If this happens to you, you’ll have to reformat the drive before using it again (hat tip to Peter Carey for helping us figure this out). This undocumented feature can be challenging at times.

The current winner: AMOD AGL3080.

Disclosure: The igotU GT-200e was provided to us for review by Mobile Action. We applaud their perseverance and for shipping the device to us in South America during our travels there.

The product links here include our Amazon affiliates code. The price stays the same to you, but we earn a small commission.

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Geotagging Your Photos, Part 3: Uploading and Displayinghttp://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-your-photos-part-3-uploading-and-displaying/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-your-photos-part-3-uploading-and-displaying/#comments Sat, 23 Feb 2008 06:06:48 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2008/02/geotagging-your-photos-part-3-uploading-and-displaying/ By Audrey Scott

You have a virtual stack of geotagged photos. So now what? Share them with the world, and share where in the world you’ve been. This third (and final…save the tears) segment of our geotagging case study is intended to help you upload your geotagged photos and share them with the world by integrating them with […]

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By Audrey Scott

You have a virtual stack of geotagged photos. So now what?

Share them with the world, and share where in the world you’ve been.

This third (and final…save the tears) segment of our geotagging case study is intended to help you upload your geotagged photos and share them with the world by integrating them with websites that support Google Maps or Yahoo Maps.

If you’ve missed the first two scintillating parts of our case study, check out Part 1 – Basics and Concepts and Part 2 – Importing and Embedding.

Uploading Geotagged Photos

We store select photos on Flickr for display on our website. When we began geotagging our photos, we required an uploading tool that would retain geolocation information in the EXIF data during the uploading process. The best tool for this in our experience so far is PictureSync – it works with Flickr, Facebook, Kodak Gallery, Smugmug, Shutterfly and a handful of other photo sharing services.

  • Software: PictureSync, freeware ($15 license is available for a version with advanced features)
  • Objective: to upload geotagged photos with titles, descriptions, and tags to your favorite photo sharing website
  • Operating systems supported: Mac OS
  • PC alternative: Flickr Uploadr 3.0.5

PictureSync also offers the ability to title, caption and add tags to your photos offline. This is crucial for us because this allows us to accomplish the bulk of our photo documentation work offline and upload photos only when we’ve found a decent internet connection.

Unfortunately, PictureSync is only available for Macs at the moment. The website indicates that developers are working on a PC version (currently in Alpha), but don’t hold your breath. Flickr’s newly updated Uploadr 3.0.5 is available for PCs and also for Mac OS. It offers similar features to PictureSync, including the ability to upload location information and to tag and title photos offline.

Even if you are not using a Mac with PictureSync, you may find it useful to read this section, as the principles of tagging photos and uploading geotag information will be similar regardless of which tool you use. You may also skip to the bottom to read about how to match your photos with Google Maps or Yahoo Maps.

Selecting Images with PictureSync

Select a folder of images to upload by clicking the “Open” button and choosing “Open From” from the drop-down menu.
Importing Images
Click “Choose Folder” and select the folder of photos you’d like to import. Then click the “Open” button. Alternatively, you can drag and drop images directly from the Finder into the PictureSync window above.
Choosing Photos in PictureSyncDigitally Documenting a Photo with PictureSync
As a result of the import process, the window fills with photo thumbnails and summary information. If you click on an individual photo, you’ll notice a small window on the right-side of your screen listing detailed documentation information about the photo. If you click the button with the conversation bubble on it, a screen will appear in which you can enter a title, caption, and keywords (tags) for the photo. This information will be automatically saved to the photo’s EXIF data.
Title and Description Data in PictureSync

Manual Insertion of Location Data with PictureSync

If you click the button that looks remarkably similar to a United Nations Flag, PictureSync will display location data associated with the photo. In the rare case that a photo sneaks through the geotagging process described in Part 2 of this series without being geotagged, there’s one last chance to enter location data for the photo before it is uploaded. Location Data in PictureSyncFind another photo taken from the same location. Copy (Control-C) the latitude and longitude data from the geotagged photo and paste (Control-V) it into the latitude and longitude fields of the untagged photo. Voila, you now have a geotagged photo.

Uploading Photos

Once you’ve finished checking that all photos have location information, titles, captions and keywords, you are ready to upload.

Before you upload, however, you must configure PictureSync for the photo sharing service (e.g., Flickr, Smugmug, etc.). To do this, select “Window” from the main menu, then select “Accounts”. Here, you can select your photo sharing site of choice and it will walk you through the authorization process.

Due to the large size of digital photo files, we resize images (800 pixels) to ensure that file sizes are more manageable for the web. Click “Settings” if you wish for PictureSync to resize images upon upload and set the size.

Make sure you have an internet connection and click the “Upload” button. The tool will begin the uploading process, provide feedback if there are any issues and give a status report at the end.
Uploading Images

Viewing a Geotagged Photo on a Map

There are numerous ways in which geotag data can be used and geotagged photos can be displayed. We’ll highlight two examples:1. Flickr – Each individual photo page on Flickr includes EXIF data (geotags and location data) on the bottom right-hand side:
EXIF Data on FlickrClick on the “map” link and a Yahoo Map like the one below will be displayed in a pop-up window. You can zoom in or zoom out using the map controls in order to adjust the level of detail on the map.
Flickr Map2. Our Photo Gallery: We also display our photos in our website photo gallery (by accessing our photos and their data stored on Flickr). The output of the embedded geotag location data is a Google Map at the bottom of each of our individual photo pages. Just scroll to the bottom of this page and you can move about the satellite image (using the controls at the top left of the Google Map) and zoom in and zoom out (using the slider control just beneath them) to have a more detailed sense of the area in which the photo was taken.The level of detail available on Google Maps satellite images is astounding, going so far as to show the rooftops of individual homes and buildings in towns and cities.
Geotagged Photo on GoogleMap
If you’re not a member of Flickr, try another online option to display your geotagged photos like SmugMug or Google’s Picasa. Check out this website for a detailed review of these and other online options.

Still with us?

We realize that we’ve presented a lot of detailed information about geotagging in this series. Before we became geotagging pros, we collected information from dozens of websites to inform our hardware and software decisions and to assemble our own process.

Now that you know everything there is to know about geotagging your photos, all you’ll need to do is prepare yourself for the entire geotagging technology landscape to continually evolve. Whatever you do, have fun!

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Geotagging Your Photos, Part 2: Importing and Embedding GPS Datahttp://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-your-photos-importing-embedding/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-your-photos-importing-embedding/#respond Wed, 20 Feb 2008 23:50:55 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2008/02/geotagging-your-photos-importing-embedding/ By Daniel Noll

The title sounds like a daunting little geekfest, doesn’t it? Not at all – even Audrey has managed to figure it out. Once you begin logging location data with your Sony GPS-CS1 (Sony GPS-CS1KA) GPS device, you’ll need to import data from the device, convert it into something usable, and finally embed it into the […]

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By Daniel Noll

The title sounds like a daunting little geekfest, doesn’t it? Not at all – even Audrey has managed to figure it out.

Once you begin logging location data with your Sony GPS-CS1 (Sony GPS-CS1KA) GPS device, you’ll need to import data from the device, convert it into something usable, and finally embed it into the EXIF data of the photograph. Although this may sound complicated, it’s not. It just takes some patience the first few times around, after which it becomes second nature. We’ll explain it all in this portion of our case study.

If you are new to geotagging, we suggest you read Part 1 of this series first.

A note on naming conventions: We actually use an earlier model of Sony’s GPS device, the Sony GPS-CS1. To remain current, we will refer to the device as Sony GPS-CS1KA, the updated (yet functionally and technically similar) model.

Disclaimer: We should point out that Dan currently uses a PC laptop and Audrey a Mac PowerBook. The importing steps are achieved with a PC while all other steps (conversion and embedding in photos) are performed on a Mac. For each step outlined in this case study, we will identify alternative software to use for PC or Mac.

Our unusual hybrid PC/Mac approach to geotagging is due to the division of duties on this trip (i.e., Audrey chose the responsibility of geotagging photos) and the software available to us.

Structure of Log Files on the Sony GPS-CS1KA

Note: The Sony GPS-CS1KA, and the GPS Image Tracker that comes bundled with it are only compatible with PCs running Microsoft Windows and Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.9. The following website had been keeping up with the Mac-compatibility with the Sony GPS-CS1KA.

Once you’ve been out and about and have logged some GPS location coordinates with the Sony GPS-CS1KA, attach it to your PC with a USB cable. The GPS will appear as a “Removable Disk”, much like a USB memory stick might. If you double-click the drive letter corresponding to your device, the following is displayed:

GPS Device Showing Up on a PCInside the GPS directory, you’ll find each of the individual GPS logs generated by the Sony GPS-CS1KA. The device generates one log for each set of continuous signals. If the device is turned off and then back on, a new file will be created. Not that we’ve found it necessary, but the GPS Image Tracker does allow multiple files to be merged. New GPS LogsOpen the file in a simple text editor like Notepad and you’ll see all of the raw GPS data logged by the device. A detailed description of what each of the individual GPS records means is fortunately beyond the scope of this case study and not necessary to actually use the data. Log Files

Importing GPS Data from the Sony GPS-CS1KA

  1. Open you’ve installed it on your computer, open the GPS Image Tracker software bundled with the Sony GPS-CS1KA.
  2. Click “Import Log Files” to import the GPS log files from the device to your computer.Importing GPS Log Files
  3. The system will prompt you to set the time zone for the log files you are about to import. For those of you using the GPS Image Tracker software to match logs with photos, this is critical since the logs will be matched to photographs based on time stamps. For those of you using other software to batch match photos with GPS logs, if you make an error, you can correct it later. Setting the time zone in the GPS Image Tracker will not alter the original GPS log file.

The GPS Image Tracker software stores GPS log files in the path: Documents and Settings-user-Application DataSony CorporationSony Picture UtilityGPSUtilLog Log File Import
Once the log file import is complete, a dialogue box appears.
File Import Complete
If you are running Microsoft Windows, you can use GPS Image Tracker to geotag your photos directly by clicking the “Add Picture Files” button. The newer model of Sony’s GPS device, Sony GPS-CS1KA, comes with a software bundle called Picture Motion Browser.

At this point of our process, Audrey takes the .log files (text files with GPS data) from Dan (using a USB memory stick) and takes the following steps on her Mac Powerbook to complete the process.

Converting GPS .log Files to .gpx Format

  • Software: GPS Babel+ freeware
  • Objective: Convert .log files to .gpx file format
  • Operating Systems Supported: PC, Linux, Mac OS

GPS Babel - Converting GPS Files

Steps:

  1. Set the following variables:
    • Operating Mode = Waypoints
    • Input File Type = NMEA 0183 sentences
    • Output File Type = GPS XML
  2. Under “Input Options”, use the “Select” button to choose the file ending with the .log extension that you’d like to convert.
  3. Press “Save File” in the bottom right-hand corner and choose the name and location of the file. We organize and name files by date in order to keep things organized. The resulting converted file will have a .gpx extension. The original .log file will be unaltered (i.e., you’ll have two files, the original .log file and the converted .gpx file).

Matching Location Data with Photos

  • Software: GPS Photo Linker, freeware
  • Objective: match data in GPS .gpx data files with photos, based on time stamps
  • Operating systems supported: Mac OS
  • PC alternative: A PC version of Picture Sync is rumored to be in Alpha. Another PC alternative is GPicSync.

Matching location data and photos is accomplished in two ways 1) automated tagging based on user-set tolerance rules and 2) manually tagging for any photos that remain untagged after this automated process (unless you change tolerance values and re-run the automated geotagging process).

Automated Geotagging Steps

Batching Photos in PhotoLinker

  1. Click “Load Tracks” and choose the .gpx files you want to use for geotagging (whose time stamps are close to the photos you’d like to match).
  2. Click “Load Photos” and choose the photos you want to tag.
    Note: If you have a large batch of photos to tag, we recommend that you choose the photos, grab a glass of wine and return 5-10 minutes later.
  3. Choose “Batch” and set the tolerance for the geotagging, either by distance or time. We always choose time, and set it to 600 “seconds from closest point” so that if the software cannot find GPS log data based on the exact time a photo was taken, it will search progressively (in either direction, before or after the photo was taken) to find the closest point. In this case, if the software cannot find a matching GPS log within 600 seconds (10 minutes), then the photo will remain untagged.
  4. Press “Batch save to photos” and the software will begin to embed the selected GPS log data into the EXIF data of each photo for which it has found a match (based on time stamp). If you are processing a large batch of photos, we recommend that you grab your second beverage since this step may also take time.

Note: Click “Time Zone” to make sure that the time zone is the same as the time the photos were taken (i.e., the same time your camera was set to). If in your batch of photos, you have photos taken in multiple time zones, we recommend that you split the photos into multiple batches by time zone.When the batch geotagging process concludes, an alert will appear in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen indicating how many photos were successfully tagged and how many remain untagged.

Bonus: If you happen to be connected to the internet while GPS Photo Linker is batch matching photos, the software will consult an online database to find the name of the town, region, and country associated with the latitude and longitude data. If it finds a match for the GPS coordinates, it will additionally embed this text location data into the photo’s EXIF data. Though embedding this data may be useful, it adds additional time to the process.

Manual Tagging

If all of your photos emerge from this process with geotags, then you are done and your photos now have geolocation data embedded in their EXIF data.If some of your photos remain untagged, then you have some manual tagging ahead of you (unless you choose to change GPS Photo Linker’s tolerance values and re-run the automated geotaggging process):
Manual Batching

  1. Select “Manual” and you will see a list of your selected location logs in the bottom left hand side.
  2. To find photos without geotags, you’ll must manually search through the photo thumbnails to find ones whose Latitude and Longitude tags are blank.
  3. Find the geotagged image that is closest in time or location to the non-geotagged image. Go through the log files for the day the closest geotagged photo was taken and find the exact log data by way of the time of the geotagged photo.
  4. Then select the photo (or photos) that need geotagging and save the Latitude and Longitude data from the log to the photo/photos by pressing “Save to photo.”

What’s Next?
Congratulations! All your photos now have the location data embedded in the EXIF data, so the process is now finished! Read Part 3 to find out what you can do with the photos now that they are geotagged.

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Geotagging Your Photos, Part 1: Concepts and Basicshttp://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-your-photos-part-1-concepts-and-basics/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/geotagging-your-photos-part-1-concepts-and-basics/#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2008 00:02:34 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2008/02/geotagging-your-photos-part-1-concepts-and-basics/ By Daniel Noll

15 Months, 16 countries, and 1000s of photos taken on the road – from boats, trains and buses, and on horseback – all of them geotagged and many displayed with GoogleMaps. How do we do it all? We’re going to tell you in a three-part series – starting now. We are frequently queried about our […]

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By Daniel Noll

15 Months, 16 countries, and 1000s of photos taken on the road – from boats, trains and buses, and on horseback – all of them geotagged and many displayed with GoogleMaps. How do we do it all?

We’re going to tell you in a three-part series – starting now.

We are frequently queried about our photography and the topic of geotagging. The conversation often begins with “What’s that device with the blinking light hanging from your camera bag?” The questions continue:

  1. What is geotagging?
  2. Why do you geotag your photos?
  3. How do you geotag your photos?
  4. How did you get those maps at the bottom of your photo pages to work like that?

We thought a case study on geotagging would be useful for fellow photographers, travelers and technology geeks alike. We’ll publish it in three segments:

  • Part 1 (this article) is intended to explain what geotagging is, why you might consider doing it, and which GPS device we use, the Sony GPS-CS1 (Sony GPS-CS1KA). This section is for readers new to the concept of geotagging.
  • Part 2 addresses the technical nuts and bolts of taking geolocation data from the Sony GPS-CS1 (Sony GPS-CS1KA) and embedding it into the EXIF data of a photo. We will discuss the hardware and all the various software (Sony GPS Image Tracker, GPSBabel, and GPSPhotoLinker) that we use to efficiently geotag large groups of photos.
  • Part 3 covers how to upload your geotagged photos using PictureSync and what you can do with a geotagged photo, including using Google Maps to interactively display where the photo was taken.

A note on naming conventions: We actually use an earlier model of Sony’s GPS device, the Sony GPS-CS1. To remain current, we will refer to the device as Sony GPS-CS1KA, the updated (yet functionally and technically similar) model.

What do you mean when you say a photo is “geotagged”?

A digital photo is geotagged when location data (latitude and longitude coordinates) are added to the digital file alongside the photo’s existing EXIF data. EXIF is the data in a digital photo file that describes things like the kind of digital camera used to take the photo, the date and time when the photo was taken and the conditions under which the photo was taken (including shutter speed, aperture, etc.). You can find a sample of EXIF data on the right-hand side of one our individual photo pages, under the “Photo Tags” section.
EXIF Data on a Photo Page

The basic steps of geotagging photos:

  1. Collect digital location data (latitude/longitude/time coordinates) using a GPS device.
  2. Based on time stamps, match your photos with the location data logged by your GPS device.
  3. Embed the matching location data in the EXIF data of your photos.

Why Do We Geotag Our Photos?

As a matter of practicality, we’d like to know where each of our photos was taken.

“Why not jot this down on a piece of paper somewhere?” you might ask.

Funky Soviet Cafe in Murghab - Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan
The hippest cafe in Central Asia. Murghab, Kyrgyzstan.

A valid question perhaps, but considering that over the course of this journey we are using two cameras and taking 1000s of photographs across dozens of locations, this is not a practical option. While we do take notes, we sometimes miss the name of a village or mountain. In the context of extended travel, the process of manually associating accurate location data with each photo becomes a colossal nightmare.

Geotagging our photos is a critical step in accurately documenting our journey. If we use a GPS device and some freely available software, we can batch process and associate our photos with detailed location data (within about 50 meters).

We also use our photos to help us tell a story about our experiences. However, we’ve traveled to some places that are unfamiliar to many (even some geography majors). That’s where geotagged photos come in. The answer to the question “Where is Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan?” becomes an experience rather than a one-dimensional text description.

If you leverage GPS technology and online mapping technology like Google or Yahoo Maps, your viewers and readers can interactively answer questions like “Where did you take that photo?” for themselves. When a photo is superimposed on a Google Map, viewers can see both topographical (desert, mountain range, etc.) data and geographical (location) data simultaneously.

Moreover, it’s just plain cool…or, at least we think it is.

The Sony GPS-CS1KA

Sony GPS-CS1We wanted something small, light, easy-to-use and affordable, so we opted to purchase the Sony GPS-CS1. It’s easily attached to a camera bag strap or belt loop by way of its plastic carabiner. The device takes one AA battery. It is so small and light that we forget we have it most of the time.

To get started, turn on the Sony GPS-CS1KA by pressing the button and holding it until a green light starts blinking. Provided that you have a clear line of sight to the sky (even through a car window), it takes between five and ten minutes to locate a satellite and begin logging coordinates. When the device searches for a satellite, it blinks several times in succession. Once the device finds a signal, coordinates will be logged every 15 seconds thereafter and the indicator will blink steadily once every few seconds.

This device has no interface; it’s simply a receiver that logs location data echoed back to it from GPS satellites orbiting the earth. If this explanation causes you pain, think of it as a conversation between GPS device and a GPS satellite:
GPS Device: “Hey, where am I?”
GPS Satellite: “Based on where you are sending your signal from, I’d say you are at these latitude and longitude coordinates”
GPS Device: “Cool. Let me write that down on my little memory chip.”

When the light turns red on the device, it’s time for a new battery. If you’re outside for most of the day, meaning that the GPS spends its time continually logging coordinates rather than searching for a satellite connection, we have found that a fully charged battery usually lasts eight hours or more. If you spend much of your time out of range of a signal, then the device will consume more power trying to find one.

Horse Trek to Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan
GPS tracker in use on the road.

We’ve occasionally encountered problems getting a satellite signal outside due to heavy smog or buildings blocking its line of sight (Beijing, China comes to mind). If you anticipate spending a lot of time in a car or boat, make sure that the device is positioned in a window (the satellite signal can be received through glass) or on the side of a boat (above the water level for obvious reasons). If you don’t normally carry a camera bag, attach the GPS device to your belt loop.

The storage capacity of the Sony GPS-CS1KA is 31 MB, or approximately 15 full days worth of logs. If you find yourself on an extended journey, you should either download the log files to your laptop or find an internet cafe where you can copy the files from the device to a CD or – more ideally – to a USB thumb drive.

So, if you ever happen to meet us on the road and notice a blinking green light attached to us, don’t be concerned. We’re not bugged or being tracked (at least, not that we’re aware of); it’s just our GPS device doing its job.

Next up in Part 2, we cover the software that we use in conjunction with the Sony GPS-CS1KA to geotag large groups of photos: Sony GPS Image Tracker, GPSBabel, and GPSPhotoLinker.

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