Anyone geotagging their photos?

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sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:44PM
I'm curious to hear about anyone's experiences using GPS data with your photography. What GPS unit are you using? What software? How do you use the information after the fact?

I'm writing an article and am looking for some real world uses and experiences. Any thoughts welcome.
wsmahar
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Posted Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:47PM
I work with someone who maintains a government GIS website. I can ask her tomorrow if you'd like... 
dcdp
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Posted Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:52PM

I actually think it can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you are not careful. Say you post a picture of your kids at their school on your family blog with their names. For example, "Here is little Johnny and Sally in their school play". If the geotag is still embedded anyone can find out where your kids go to school and they can go and visit the school with your kids names. If you take a shot at a party at your house and post it somewhere online, people can see exactly where you live, they know your names, they can find out your address. That is trouble.


Obviously if someone is persistant enough they may be able to find that stuff out anyway, but my advice is geotag your holiday pics to you know where they were taken and feel free to share it with other travellers, but when it comes closer to home, strip out the EXIF.
EricFerguson
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Posted Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:16PM
I do aerial kite photography, and have experimented with geotagging to tell the me the exact location and elevation at which my photos were taken, which is always a trickey thing to guess at when you're standing on the ground holding the line.

Of course, the only geotag-enabled device that I have is my blackberry, so what I actually do is just strap the blackberry to the rig and then compare the geotag info and date stamps on the photos that it takes to the one that my 8mp point and shoot is getting.

It's strange that this is such a rare feature; small GPS chips are so small and cheap now... I wonder if they could build one into a CF card, so that every time a file was written to the card it appended coordinates to the EXIF. The camera wouldn't have to be GPS enabled at all. If you can get enough power into an SD card for an wireless chip, surely a GPS in CF would be possible? Am I just a poor googler, and such a card already exists?

Edit to add:  UGH, I was so hopeful... link

(Edited on 2009-03-31 18:19:55 by EricFerguson)
slobo
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Posted Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:23PM
I geotagged manualy a few photos I posted on Panoramio (Google).
QShot
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Posted Wed Apr 1, 2009 7:28AM

I've started manually geo tagging my shots in Aperture (using the free Maperture plugin) and am considering buying the Nikon GPS unit.


I am using them it mainly to tag where I've been on holiday, using Google maps to track things, and be able to better plan the next trip to include places I missed, or places I want to visit again.
TexPhoto
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Posted Wed Apr 1, 2009 3:36PM
Nikon makes a point and shoot with built in GPS.  I like the idea.  In software Apple's iPhoto 09, can do very impresive things with the GPS data. 
AardLumens
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 12:21AM
I too manually geotag a lot of photos for Panoramio... they then end up on Google Earth and Google Maps. It's fun. I'd like to buy a Garmin GPS though. I also geotag some of my SmugMug photos, because I enjoy seeing the map with pins stuck in the interesting places I've been.  Some people get confused and think the photos are tagged wrong, because the pin is stuck on the map spot where the photo was taken, not on the object being photographed. I'm hoping after people get more used to geotagging, this problem will dissolve.
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:19AM

Posted By wsmahar:
I work with someone who maintains a government GIS website. I can ask her tomorrow if you'd like... 


That would be cool to hear about. Thanks!
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:24AM

Posted By Dvorjakusan:

I actually think it can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you are not careful. Say you post a picture of your kids at their school on your family blog with their names. For example, "Here is little Johnny and Sally in their school play". If the geotag is still embedded anyone can find out where your kids go to school and they can go and visit the school with your kids names. If you take a shot at a party at your house and post it somewhere online, people can see exactly where you live, they know your names, they can find out your address. That is trouble.


Obviously if someone is persistant enough they may be able to find that stuff out anyway, but my advice is geotag your holiday pics to you know where they were taken and feel free to share it with other travellers, but when it comes closer to home, strip out the EXIF.


I can understand the concern, but I think it is less likely to happen than getting struck by lightening. You and your family are more likely to be harmed by people already in your local area than some random whacko googlemaps user. That said, there's no harm in being cautious and it is easy enough to take precautions against.
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:28AM

Posted By EricFerguson:
I do aerial kite photography, and have experimented with geotagging to tell the me the exact location and elevation at which my photos were taken, which is always a trickey thing to guess at when you're standing on the ground holding the line.

Of course, the only geotag-enabled device that I have is my blackberry, so what I actually do is just strap the blackberry to the rig and then compare the geotag info and date stamps on the photos that it takes to the one that my 8mp point and shoot is getting.

It's strange that this is such a rare feature; small GPS chips are so small and cheap now... I wonder if they could build one into a CF card, so that every time a file was written to the card it appended coordinates to the EXIF. The camera wouldn't have to be GPS enabled at all. If you can get enough power into an SD card for an wireless chip, surely a GPS in CF would be possible? Am I just a poor googler, and such a card already exists?

Edit to add:  UGH, I was so hopeful... link


You are always doing cool stuff. Does the blackberry include altitude? I should check mine.

There are small GPS devices that attach to DSLRs and write the coordinates to each photo taken. I prefer using a handheld device that creates a tracklog as then I actually have a useful GPS device while out and about.
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:29AM

Posted By slobo:
I geotagged manualy a few photos I posted on Panoramio (Google).


Do you mean that you use googlemaps or some other resource to get the coordinates of places you visited and then enter that info manually? That works and is a low cost solution.
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:31AM

Posted By QShot:

I've started manually geo tagging my shots in Aperture (using the free Maperture plugin) and am considering buying the Nikon GPS unit.


I am using them it mainly to tag where I've been on holiday, using Google maps to track things, and be able to better plan the next trip to include places I missed, or places I want to visit again.


Does the plugin give you the coordinates to enter? How does that work?

I've considered the Nikon unit, but for the price I think getting a good handheld unit would be more useful.
sylvanworksCLOSED
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember has had a File Of The WeekMember has been inducted into the iStockphoto Hall of Fame.
Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:32AM

Posted By TexPhoto:
Nikon makes a point and shoot with built in GPS.  I like the idea.  In software Apple's iPhoto 09, can do very impresive things with the GPS data. 


I looked at getting that cam when I recently purchased a new point and shoot. I was not impressed by the image quality so opted for a Lumix LX3 instead. I do think in time GPS enabled cameras will be more prevalent.
sylvanworksCLOSED
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember has had a File Of The WeekMember has been inducted into the iStockphoto Hall of Fame.
Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:34AM

Posted By AardLumens:
I too manually geotag a lot of photos for Panoramio... they then end up on Google Earth and Google Maps. It's fun. I'd like to buy a Garmin GPS though. I also geotag some of my SmugMug photos, because I enjoy seeing the map with pins stuck in the interesting places I've been.  Some people get confused and think the photos are tagged wrong, because the pin is stuck on the map spot where the photo was taken, not on the object being photographed. I'm hoping after people get more used to geotagging, this problem will dissolve.


Yeah, that is a good point. The accuracy of the best consumer GPS devices seems to be within 10 meters of the GPS device, so if you are shooting something that is not right next to you the accuracy goes down even further. That said, for most uses I would think it is close enough.
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 6:40AM
Thanks for all the replies so far.

On a related note, Scott Kelby recently posted a rather frank assessment of the Jobo unit for DSLRs, but there is also a lot of good info in the comments.
sakaasa
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 8:07AM
I use Photo Mechanic (Camera Bits). It has a easy and quick "Set GPS" function, and enters the coordinates in the image metadata. I have been using this for all images with a mapped location. I still need a GPS before summer for coodinates in rural and mountain areas.
wsmahar
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 9:17AM

I just spoke with her.


There are plenty of uses that that gov't offices could find useful. She has fielded requests from the Assesors office, Real Property Dept. and Public Works about geotagging.


She is currently working on a project to photograph and map every traffic control sign in the County. This information will be included as a new layer in our GIS website for the County. She feels the problem with most GPS/Camera units is the lack of accuracy. She currently has a Trimble GPS unit and terrasync software. It has 2 foot accuracy. 5-10 meters will not work for her needs so she is doing it manually with the Trimble and a notepad. She is looking into software that can combine the photo with the Trimble data based on time stamps but hasn't done much yet because she know there is no budget this year.


She feels there is are a large number of uses for govt work but it won't really take off until accuracy goes up and prices come down.


She also said she'd like very much to read your article when it's ready.. I'd be happy to let her know where it could be found when ready
QShot
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Posted Fri Apr 3, 2009 10:28AM
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Posted By sylvanworks:


Posted By QShot:

I've started manually geo tagging my shots in Aperture (using the free Maperture plugin) and am considering buying the Nikon GPS unit.


I am using them it mainly to tag where I've been on holiday, using Google maps to track things, and be able to better plan the next trip to include places I missed, or places I want to visit again.



Does the plugin give you the coordinates to enter? How does that work?

I've considered the Nikon unit, but for the price I think getting a good handheld unit would be more useful.

The plugin lets you drop a pin on a google map (or arial shot), and the plug-in gets it from there I believe.
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