GeoTag That Dude

Geotag Icon ProjectThis week has been full of GeoTag research and metadata editing. For the novice, let’s start with metadata.

As defined by Wikipedia

Metadata is loosely defined as data about data. Though this definition is easy to remember, it is not very precise. The strength of this definition is in recognizing that metadata is data…

… Metadata is a concept that applies mainly to electronically archived data and is used to describe the, definition, structure, administration, of data files with all contents in context to ease the use of the captured and archived data for further use…

…Description and keywords meta tags are commonly used to describe [a] Web page’s content. Most search engines use this data when adding [media] to their search index.

Its the bits of information appended to a file that gives you information about the file; who created it, how to contact them, copyright status, when it was created, with what software, and many other details including… drum-roll… where the media was created or another geographic reference relative to the media. This is where GeoTag comes in.

According to Wikipedia

Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs, video, websites, or RSS feeds and is a form of geospatial metadata. These data usually consist of latitude and longitude coordinates, though they can also include altitude, bearing, distance, accuracy data, and place names.

I have long been a huge fan of geospatial information/data, beginning with maps and charts and on into the use of satellite imagery and GPS. The ability to add geospatial information to metadata has been around for a while but its application in the consumer market is relatively new. Users of many social networking services may be a bit more familiar with this by adding map locations to there tweets and flickr uploads.

What I have been doing is adding geodata to my photo library and updating other metadata at the same time. Adobe Bridge (CS3) has been a great tool in editing almost all of the metadata but it does not allow me to edit the geodata. For the geodata, I have been using Microsoft Pro Photo Tools, like many Microsoft tools it does add meta data that you might not want, in this case it adds the name of the software into the Audio:Application meta space. Audio for photo software? Yup. That’s Microsquish for ya. Anyway, it has an easy to use map based drag-and-drop tool for adding coordinates to your images and the ability to read GPS track files and apply them to a bunch of images all automatically.

Let’s say you strapped on a hand held GPS and set it to record your “track”, grab your camera and start taking pictures. When you get back take all of the photos from the camera and open them in Pro Photo, then inside Pro Photo open the “track” and apply the location data to the photos.

Basically, the software reads the pictures creation timecode and compares that to the GPS track. Each point in the track contains a collection of information, what info is recorded depends on the GPS, simple track data will contain at least, latitude, longitude, altitude, bearing, and a timecode. It’s the timecode that is matched providing the lat/lon info for the geotag. Devices like PhotoTrackr can make the whole thing a little easier.

Geotag Icon ProjectMetadata and geotagging gives us the ability to put our world in clearer context. It is a bold new world we live in. Take a picture, geotag and share it.