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DennyG

Geotagging Article

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Here's a recent article on geotagging that I found interesting. It's from B&H Photo who lives by selling stuff so there's no surprise in the fact that it reviews a lot of stuff that B&H sells. I was surprised to learn that you can get a nice 39 megapixel Hasselblad with GPS built in for less than the price of a new Mercedes. And the Mercedes doesn't even take good pictures. Somewhat inconspicuous is the name of a "free" bit of tagging software, Jet Photo. I tried it and believe it works just fine - matching photos against GPX files - but the free version is limited to 100 photos and the tagging function is tied to their photo management scheme. The "pro" upgrade is only $25 so it could be a good solution for some. I'm still using - and still happy with - the wwmx Location Stamper. The wwmx website (http://wwmx.org) seems to have gone missing for the moment but the free software is still available here.

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David Pogue recently wrote about an SD card with logic built in that infers the global position of a photo by reading nearby Wi-Fi hotspots; it's supposed to be accurate to 100 feet, and it automatically inserts the latitude and longitude into the exif of your photo. You don't need a GPS receiver for it to work. Unfortunately, it also only works where there are Wi-Fi hotspots, so my middle-of-nowhere shots wouldn't be helped.

 

I am seriously resisting buying GPS because of the expense; I have so many other things that demand my money first. But I'm telling you, dragging photos onto the Flickr map really sucks after about the first 20.

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David Pogue recently wrote about an SD card with logic built in that infers the global position of a photo by reading nearby Wi-Fi hotspots; it's supposed to be accurate to 100 feet, and it automatically inserts the latitude and longitude into the exif of your photo. You don't need a GPS receiver for it to work. Unfortunately, it also only works where there are Wi-Fi hotspots, so my middle-of-nowhere shots wouldn't be helped.

 

I am seriously resisting buying GPS because of the expense; I have so many other things that demand my money first. But I'm telling you, dragging photos onto the Flickr map really sucks after about the first 20.

 

Jim,

 

I use a great free geotag program at the site below. It works wonders!

 

http://geotag.sourceforge.net/?q=node/3

 

Any GPS that records a track and can output it to a computer should make your job a lot easier...and it eliminates that 'ole human error.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Unfortunately, Dave, I don't want to buy a GPS just now. I have other proirities for my money and will for as long as I can predict. So I'm relegated to dragging and dropping photos on to a map!

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I'm telling you, dragging photos onto the Flickr map really sucks after about the first 20.

I installed Picasa just to do the geotagging. It integrates with Google Earth, which I usually like its navigation interface to find locations. It just gives a nice cross-hair and you move the map around behind it. After you hit the "tag" button, it moves to the next photo.

 

However, many of the states I went through on my trip do NOT have hi-res images on Google, so I had to load maps.live.com to find the coordinates and then paste them into Google Earth to find out where in the giant blurry image the photo was taken. For instance, their coverage of Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, etc., is deplorable. I am used to the wonderful images of Indiana that are available, so I guess I am a little spoiled...

 

Chris

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David Pogue recently wrote about an SD card with logic built in that infers the global position...
That's rather intriguing but it's not cheap. A 2 gig card is $130 which is in the same range as the loggers and low end GPS units and higher than a GPS receiver that feeds a laptop or PDA. Plus it depends on an external -- and not quite proven -- mix of technology. Could be cool and is definitely something to watch.

 

...dragging photos onto the Flickr map really sucks after about the first 20.
I thought it sucked about half way through the first one and it didn't solve my problem :D . Apparently you and Chris know exactly where your photos were taken and want to position them correctly on a map. I have too many photos that I can't recall where they were taken with any precision. Before I started geotagging, there were a few times I found myself analyzing a GPS log to try to locate where I pulled over for a particular picture. The dragging, though tedious, at least solves your problem. Have you tried the Picasa setup that Chris describes? It sounds like it might be an easier to use, yet still GPSless, approach.

 

I use a great free geotag program at the site below. It works wonders!

 

http://geotag.sourceforge.net/?q=node/3

That is very similar the the wwmx program. Looks like there might be a minor pro or two and a minor con or two but not enough of either to make you or me switch.

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Before I started geotagging, there were a few times I found myself analyzing a GPS log to try to locate where I pulled over for a particular picture.

Usually an aerial photo makes it pretty easy to find, except of course when stopping at a random place and taking a photo. My solution on this trip was to bring a mini voice recorder and after parking at the side of the road or parking lot, read off the coordinates from the GPS mounted in my car. Then later I went through the whole cassette, writing down what I had recorded. This was helpful--much better than trying to write them down like I had done in other cases.

 

Chris

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Usually an aerial photo makes it pretty easy to find, except of course when stopping at a random place and taking a photo. My solution on this trip was to bring a mini voice recorder and after parking at the side of the road or parking lot, read off the coordinates from the GPS mounted in my car. Then later I went through the whole cassette, writing down what I had recorded. This was helpful--much better than trying to write them down like I had done in other cases.

 

Chris

I guess most of my pictures must be taken at random places. :lol:

 

I've no experience with built in navigation systems but the handheld Garmins I've used had a single button means of recording the current location. One called it the Man Over Board feature. It seems possible that built in systems would have something similar so you could return to the perfect pizza parlor you just found or to the spot where you dropped off your wife to go shopping.

 

I've carried a voice recorder for some time and even when I don't have it, I usually have my cell phone. Many cell phones have a voice record feature which is real handy, particularly while driving. My current Nokia has an assignable hot key which I use for the recorder. That lets me push one button and record things like "Bob's Bakery was started in 1962 by his uncle". If I listen to it in the next day or two, I'll be able to throw in some details about the bakery I just photographed. If I discover it a month later, I'll probably have no idea who Bob is. :huh:

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I use a digital voice recorder on my trips, too. It's an Olympus VN-3100PC. I love the little thing. When I take shots, I record into it the location (such as "southeast corner of Main and Madison"). Then I just click through the recordings and drag the photos onto the map in the right places. Even if I had GPS, I'd still have to futz with manually transcribing the geo info somehow.

 

I can't wait for the day that cameras in my price range come with geotagging standard.

 

Chris -- yes, we are pretty lucky to have such hi-res aerial map images of Indiana. You can see the cracks in the pavement on the roads!

 

jim

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I am currently having geotagging woes. My DeLorme HH software runs on my Palm TX and tracks using the BT-20 GPS. It tracks perfectly and the timing is right - on the Palm. When I transfer the logs back to the computer, the timing is totally thrown off. In wwmx, I can offset the time stamp on all my photos, but the only way to get the time right is to compare the track on the Palm to the one on the computer. It's not impossible, just cumbersome. I need to sit down once and document the process, since I tend to forget it if I haven't done it in a while. The process would be easier if the time on the track wouldn't get messed up on the computer. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to look for support on that issue.

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I am currently having geotagging woes. My DeLorme HH software runs on my Palm TX and tracks using the BT-20 GPS. It tracks perfectly and the timing is right - on the Palm. When I transfer the logs back to the computer, the timing is totally thrown off. In wwmx, I can offset the time stamp on all my photos, but the only way to get the time right is to compare the track on the Palm to the one on the computer. It's not impossible, just cumbersome. I need to sit down once and document the process, since I tend to forget it if I haven't done it in a while. The process would be easier if the time on the track wouldn't get messed up on the computer. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to look for support on that issue.

Is it possible that one of the devices (the palm seems most likely) is automatically adjusting for time zone? I'm a lifelong believer in the "don't change that time" school of travel. Now my cell phone thinks it's smarter than I am, and it could very well be, but I still don't like it automatically changing the time when it thinks it's moved to a new time zone. Could your Palm be doing something like that? Another possibility could be GPS options settings in DeLorme. I know nothing about HH and I've not even used DeLorme recorded tracks for geotagging so this is pure conjecture but the "desk top" version of SA has a Date/Time area on the GPS tab of the options dialog. If HH has something like that, it might be worth experimenting with.

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Is it possible that one of the devices (the palm seems most likely) is automatically adjusting for time zone? I'm a lifelong believer in the "don't change that time" school of travel. Now my cell phone thinks it's smarter than I am, and it could very well be, but I still don't like it automatically changing the time when it thinks it's moved to a new time zone. Could your Palm be doing something like that? Another possibility could be GPS options settings in DeLorme. I know nothing about HH and I've not even used DeLorme recorded tracks for geotagging so this is pure conjecture but the "desk top" version of SA has a Date/Time area on the GPS tab of the options dialog. If HH has something like that, it might be worth experimenting with.

 

Somewhere, something along the line is getting messed up. There is a setting in the HH version, in the GPS dialog, regarding a time zone offset. The weird thing is, when I travel, the tracks seem OK on the Palm. If we leave at 8, the track starts at 8. But then, on the computer, the same track says 3 or 4 AM. It's weird. I'll have to do a local test and try it out and see if I can fix it. Interestingly, we have a laptop now and it's possible to hook it up by USB, but I don't see myself doing that very often. I might, in a pinch, do a route, or find something using the laptop. Routing on SAHH on a Palm is torture. It takes forever. Search is a little more merciful.

 

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