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.
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
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.