August 10, 2006

Geotagging in one click

If you don't have £80 to spend on a new Sony GPS gadget to put a geographical locator, or geotag, onto your photos, then you have Steve to thank for pointing out this 'Localize' button which you can add to your browser toolbar. Once you've dragged and dropped the button to your toolbar you can go into Flickr. Find a photo, click the button, a little Google Map appears. Find where the photo was taken and save the location. That's it! Everyone can now see in satellite or road map form where the pic was snapped. I've done it with one of my wedding snaps.

I've already gone into the educational uses of geotagging, particularly if you're working with a school elsewhere and want to give them a sense of space and time in your field trips. This tool just makes it a whole lot easier.


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Looks like Flickr are developing drag'n'drop geotagging as well, as reported by TechCrunch.

I spotted the Sony gadget too - useful if you want to only geotag your photos but less useful for doing anything else "geo" with. Using a basic gps for position info is just as convenient I would think (and about the same price) and you could then use it as it was intended, for following a map etc.
I have used the Google Maps in Flickr greasemonkey script for a while now; great for geotagging stuff - it also gives a list of your geotagged photos which you can view as a photostream presentation which jumps to the relevant points on the map as the pic is shown - useful for teachers to show a field trip and invite comments. The Sumaato tool looks just as convenient for instant tagging.
If you want to tag photos themselves in their own exif headers rather than just on flickr, I've blogged some details here. I bought Robogeo (buying software is almost unheard of for this open-source fan, but I AM impresed with what it does)which compares timestamps between GPS track and stamps the geodata back into the exif headers for each photo. In addition it allows you to export in a variety of formats (ESRI Shapefiles for GIS, Google Earth KML/KMZ files, gpx, etc).
There's a free solution too, from (gulp) Micro$oft of all places, called World Wide Media Exchange - a bit outdated but it does what it says on the tin. It includes an app to download trackdata from the GPS, and a location stamper to put the corresponding geodata into your photos.

Single-click solutions these ain't, but they are VERY convenient ways of geocoding a lot of photos at once, and the code stays with the photo rather than with flickr.

I like being able to fly to locations on Google Earth too. I haven't found a tool that is as straightforward to use as geotag bookmark you give above, but GETrackr is fairly easy to use. It allows you to capture stuff like angle and direction as well as the location. (See for example my picture of Jordanhill.)

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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