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Photos and geotags: Web-albums and mapping of them

May 25, 2008 Leave a comment

 

While you are out taking photos, your GPS device you brought with you is keeping track of where you’ve been.  Later when you’re back at your computer, tools like GeoSetter or Microsoft Pro Photo Tools will automatically assigned each photo a location based on the time you took the photo and where on the GPS trail that time occurs or when it’s off you can manually adjust the location yourself.  After that you will have a collection of geotagged JPEGs.  

 

To make the most of them you want to upload them to a web-album and share with others the path (GPS track) and your photos taken along the path.  EveryTrail seems to match that feature-wise, but I’d like to be able to use services I’m already using, like Flickr and Live Maps.

 

Here’s what I’ve found so far:

 

·         Picasa works well.  The desktop software is slick for organizing your photos.  Uploading them to new or existing web-albums is seamless and mapping your geotagged photos in the web album is as easy as clicking "View Map"– http://picasaweb.google.com/ryancr/GPSTest/photo#map.  But there’s no ability to add GPX track information (so you can get a line on your map showing your path) and the map view doesn’t zoom close enough to comfortable switch between photos taken close to each other but it’s nice that the arrows above each photo on the map cycles through them based on when they were taken.  The real win is that each web-album has a “View in Google Earth” link which provides a KML container of your photos which can be used in Live Maps or Google Maps.

·         Flickr should work well.  As a photo-sharing site it’s great: the community sharing and tagging features are established and meet my needs.  Photos uploaded with geotags can be displayed with Flickr’s built-in mapping feature and existing non-tagged photos can be tagged manually through the site.  But when viewing geotagged photos through the site’s built-in mapping application, the image that pops up in the map’s photo-bar is really small and the mapping application itself is lame when compared to Live Maps or Google Maps. (plus the map view doesn’t actually seem to work in IE8)  Flickr supports KML and KML_NL feeds, but the feed will only contain photos that were uploaded geotagged already, e.g. this, rather than also showing photos geotagged through Flickr.  Also the URL used needs to be of the http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/geo/ type else you will wind up with parsing errors from Live Maps/Google Maps when it tries to grok the photo feed.   No ability to create photo-trails and upload GPX track information.

·         Live Spaces doesn’t do anything with my geotagged photos and creating a Live Maps Collection with pushpins to my Spaces photos is tedious.  But Live Maps is cool because I can upload my GPX path directly into Live Maps and display it along with my photo pushpins. e.g. http://maps.live.com/?v=2&encType=1&cid=EA3E56FF46082C90!231

 

The above conclusions are likely incomplete and premature so will be edited when I find better solutions or methods.

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