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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Geotagging


Use your GPS as a comprehensive location scout and to share images with others

Labels: How-ToSolutions

Garmin Oregon 550t; DeLorme Earthmate PN-60; Magellan eXplorist 710

You don't need a camera with a built-in GPS to geotag your images although such devices make it simpler since they do it automatically as you shoot. You can get a separate geotagging GPS unit that connects to your camera, which also automatically geotags each photo as you shoot (but you must connect the separate unit to your camera in a manner that provides it with access to the GPS satellites overhead). You can use special geotagging software and a handheld GPS unit: Sync the camera's clock with the GPS unit's clock, then the software can tag the images (in your computer) based on the GPS-logged positions at each image's time of recording. You even can geotag images manually using any GPS unit: Just photograph the GPS unit's display right after you take a photo to record the location data, then enter the data into the image's EXIF metadata at your computer (this is certainly the most labor-intensive method of geotagging images).

Once you've geotagged images, you can use that data to search for images shot in a given location and look up exactly where a given shot was made. You also can plot your images on maps, showing exactly where each image was made. Once you've made your photo map, you can print it, email it, post it on your website or share it via a social-networking site such as Twitter or Facebook.

Photo-sharing sites like Flickr (www.flickr.com), Picasa (picasa.google.com) and Panoramio (www.panoramio.com) provide simple means to plot your images on a map—with or without GPS data. With Picasa, for example, you click on your image, click "Places," search for the location by name or latitude/longitude, zoom in to find the exact spot, then click there to place the image. Picasa even will tag the mapped images for you, adding latitude and longitude to the image's EXIF metadata.

Hikers often use EveryTrail (www.everytrail.com) to produce maps showing the routes of their hikes, with photos taken along the way keyed to positions on the map. This also can be useful to plot any outdoor photo excursion. Viewers can click on the thumbnails along the route to see large versions of each image. You can use a GPS unit with your digital camera or photos taken with a smartphone. If you use a GPS, download the trip's .gpx file from the GPS, and EveryTrail will create your map instantly. If you use a smartphone's camera, the EveryTrail app automatically plots your images to your map. EveryTrail is free, but requires you to sign up on their website. You can import photos from Flickr or Picasa, and they will be plotted on your map based on their timestamp, and you also can choose "Download your trip to Google Earth" to see your trip on 3D terrain.

ACME Mapper (mapper.acme.com) uses Google Maps and geotag data to plot your photos on satellite, terrain or topo maps. You even can use it to measure distances between plotted points on your map.

Examples Of GPS Units For Geotagging
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 GPS and Topo North America mapping software (delorme.com): The Topo North America software can tag images with data recorded by the PN-60 GPS unit based on the times the images were shot and the times on the GPS track log.

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