Posts Tagged ‘exif’

They Know Where You Are: Photos That Find Themselves (Washington Post)

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

[Editor's note: Two articles by Rob Pegararo, the Washington Post's tech guru today on using GPS with photos. The first on how to accomplish this with a standard digital camera that does not come with GPS. The second talks about the software and social websites that utilize the GPS coordinates embedded in the photo's EXIF data.]

From the Washington Post article:

By Rob Pegoraro; Thursday, July 31, 2008; Page D01.

Your computer knows what you did last weekend — but that’s okay because most of your other gadgets do, too. Your browser remembers your Web reading list, your cellphone saved your calls, and your MP3 player can recite the songs you heard.And most of us seem content to have all this sentient machinery memorizing our daily routines, so long as all the data stay with us. A little surveillance of ourselves can be fine if we, and nobody else, get to see the results.

Your digital camera may be the next gadget to upgrade its self-awareness. It already records when you take photos, and now it can inform you where you shot them as well. You won’t have to remember where you photographed each vacation shot; your photos will tell you.

This feat comes courtesy of a $129.99 device called the Eye-Fi Explore. It slips into a camera’s SD card slot like any other memory unit, but this two-gigabyte card includes a WiFi receiver that connects to a database of wireless networks to determine the location of your pictures.

Continue reading at WashingtonPost.com . . .

From Rob’s “Faster Forward” Blog:

The first time I inspected a photo “geotagged” with the Eye-Fi Explore card and saw that Eye-Fi’s software had not only placed the picture on the map within maybe 30 feet of the spot where I’d pressed the camera’s button, but also the copy uploaded to Flickr was tagged with the appropriate city and state, I thought “cool!”

But when I told my editor about this successful test, her reaction was more along the lines of “that’s kind of creepy.”

Technologies that do things you’ve never seen done before can be like that. As I wrote in today’s column, I found the Eye-Fi’s auto-location abilities more fascinating than frightening, but I can see how others might disagree. I was surprised, however, to see such limited support for geotagging in photo-album programs and the more than 20 picture-sharing sites Eye-Fi supports, including such popular sites as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, Kodak Gallery and Photobucket. Many of these applications either ignore the latitude and longitude coordinates Eye-Fi adds to the “EXIF” tags of photo files or don’t provide a clickable map in response to them. I expect this to change before too long.

Continue reading at WashingtonPost.com . . .

Mapping and GPS on the iPhone

Monday, July 14th, 2008

apple iphone promo

So I bought one of those glossy little toys on Friday and have been geeking out ever since. The default Google Maps application that comes with the phone is pretty good and the GPS “locate me” feature works well for me (fast, accurate with good precision).

But there is no way to see the current location in latitude / longitude format while on the phone!? Not quite an ArcPad. But perhaps forthcoming 3rd party aps will improve the situation.

When I take a picture this information is embedded but when emailing the photo the EXIF tags with the GPS coordinates are stripped out. These tags are visible in Photoshop and other advanced graphic software. Only by synching via iPhoto on the Mac gets the photo of the iPhone with the EXIF intact.

airme


I am enjoying AirMe for taking quick shots and uploading them to Flickr. Strangely enough it uses the GPS to know what country, state, and town to tag the images with (heck, it even puts in the weather conditions as tags) but drops the latitude and longitude. But so does the default Photos ap from Apple when emailing photos so there seems to be a larger problem here. None of the photo aps allow me to locate the photos that I have taken on a map while on the phone.

Photo sites that support GPS coords include (source):

Travel / Sports Sites

where iphone

When it works (their servers are getting overwhelmed), Where provides some great GPS-enabled location based services gathering locations and plotting them onto a Google map centered on your current position. These include a general “Local Search”, Zip car locations, Yelp, Starbucks, and Gas Buddy. My favorite is “HeyWhatsThat” (Peak). It uses SRTM terrain information to build a horizon elevation profile and labels significant mountain peaks that are visible.

There are also several aps that broadcast your current location to the world. These include Whrrl and Loopt. Sci-fi amazing and creepy at the same time.

River Guide for Kayakers reports real time streamflow information throughout the US via the USGS. Good use of regions and states breadcrumbs / categories to hone down the display when not using the GPS or looking wider afield than your current location

Features I’m looking for in future iPhone photo / mapping aps:

  • Live GPS tracking (storing of the route).
  • Location tagging
  • Attach photos to location (location is created on capture of photo)
  • See all photos in an album on the map as icons
  • Click on the photo icon in map view get a big view of the photo
  • Attach a longer text description to each location, not just the name
  • Export and export to GPX format
  • Export and export to KML format

Mapping sites with other nice features:

  • Nokia Sports Tracker – GPS camera phone makes it easy to record a jog and then post it online. Decent map with Start, Stop, critical points (fastest, slowest speeds; lowest, highest elevations), photos. Includes workout profile (speed, altitude) graph. Includes summary with times, duration, distance, speed, pace, altitude, etc.
  • Panoramio – Good use of location breadcrumbs. Several “modes” showing large photo (with title), local area map, regional map. The actual latitude and longitude are displayed. Includes tags, EXIF metadata, and viewing stats.
  • EveryTrail – Does a better job of recording discussion about the entire trip / route / album. Trip map with photos as clickable icons. Large photo view. Includes lat-long display. Easy to “swip” the previous and next photos, or see in a “list” format.
  • MapMyRide – Ability to tag non-photo locations / waypoints on the map. Display of mile / km markers along longer routes / tracks.

Sometimes the best iPhone “aps” are actually just iPhone optimized websites.

Weather Underground is a perfect example. They have Current weather, Radar, Forecast, and Warnings. The screenshot here is large as viewed on my computer web browser instead of the iPhone. The iPhone’s display is twice the resolution of my monitor so halve the size. Tap the buttons on the phone version to auto scroll to that location on the page.

weather underground