Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Geocoding photos using any GPS

Geocoded photos with coordinates in EXIF tags have advantages. You can create your own maps, KML files for Google Earth and geocoded photos are automatically located in Panoramio, so you don't need to find the rigth location manually in the map. But, how to get your photos geocoded?

The perfect solution would be cameras with built-in GPS, but so far only there are just some cameras with partial integration. Ricoh Caplio Pro G3 has a slot for a GPS card and Nikon D2X can connect to a GPS using a cable. Not very comfortable solutions. The industry doesn't seem very interested in GPS integration until now, but luckyly there are other alternatives.

Many people have already a GPS and a digital camera like separated devices that they are not able to communicate between them. The primitive solution is looking at your GPS, edit photo's EXIF tags and add manually geodata photo by photo. Of course, there is software to do this work for you that works with any GPS. The software matches the GPS track log and your photos in order to write coordinates in EXIF. You just need to synchronize the time in both devices for making matching possible.

Some software solutions:

- Jetphotoshop: Photo-organizer with geocoding. Full free version. Also for Mac.

- Gartrip: It works with GPS devices from Garming and Magellan GPS. The number of track points is limited to 500 in demo version.

- GPS Photo Linker: Just for Mac. Full free.

- OziPhotoTool: Demo version for only five images in a waypoint file.

- RoboGEO. Demo version distort coordinates up to one kilometer.

- GPS Photo Link Software from Geospatial Experts: No demo version.

If have not a GPS and you just need one for geocoding your photos, you don't need a GPS that includes maps, screen or many functionalities. You just need a GPS that stores track points. Sony just released a specific device, the Sony GPS-CS1, small, light and specially designed for carrying it with you while you make photos. Another option for a similar price is a very simple GPS like Garmin Geko 201.

Reference: "Geocoding photos" by Richard Akerman.