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GeoTagger Adds Positioning Info to Snapshots 119

Richard Jelbert writes "Check out this hardware device to geo-tag your photos to help share / manage your photos using Google maps. The Jelbert GeoTagger device records the latitude and longitude and compass direction of every photo you take. It connects to the camera flash shoe and stores the geo metadata on an SD memory card. Geotagging is becomeing more and more popular with sites like Flickr supporting geotagging via Google Earth interface. Hardware geotagers save you the effort of geo-tagging the images manually after taking the shot. The Sony geotagger is a great step forward but the Jelbert GeoTagger also records direction data."
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GeoTagger Adds Positioning Info to Snapshots

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  • Should work inversely too, so that when i check out my street on google earth it shows pictures of my neighbours sunbathing.
  • Slashvert (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HugePedlar ( 900427 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @11:53AM (#16186243) Homepage
    Christ, could the summary sound any more like a PR press release?
    • Yes, it does sound like a press release, and it completely ignores the first red flag that occurred to me - privacy. Flickr already makes it easy to check out what kind of camera one uses, unless one turns such functionality off at some point in the process. An on-by-default hardware geotagger has the potential to give one's location away without the user's knowledge. Makes you think twice about taking pictures near the White House, or near a museum, or in an airport, plane, subway, bus, busy location.
      • by 10sball ( 80009 )
        Its all about defaults and disclosure, not about hardware itself

        Flickr for one, already has separate privacy controls for who can see your geo info.., just like it has for who can comment, note or tag photos. So even if if I post a public photo and geotag it for the location of my house I can easily keep that info private if i choose to.

        So the mechanics are there, and I quickly found them, but I don't recall what the default settings are to know how valid the issue of unknowingly posting geo data is.
        • Its all about defaults and disclosure, not about hardware itself
          My point was that geotagging in flickr is an intentional process, whereas this new product apparently will tag ALL of your images if you're not careful. You very well know that so-and-so image was tagged if you click it yourself on a map. Flickr's tool is a far cry from looking online someday and seeing that someone made a mash-up of your photostream of each and every time you hit the shutter in a day. Imagine you were a nature photograph
      • easier to catch clumsy phonies like Adnan Hajj.

        I just don't understand what he was thinking. That's the kind of result you'd get the first time you ever tried to use the clone tool. And then you'd think "Well that sure looks like crap."

    • Christ, could the summary sound any more like a PR press release?
      A little. You know, if the submitter could spell "becomeing" correctly.
    • That's because it is a press release!

      Have a look under the contacts section of the site linked to in the story and you'll see the author's name.

  • All that's missing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SeXy_Red ( 550409 )
    is the angle with the horizontal. With all this information it should be relatively easy to build a 2D/3D map from the pictures you collect.
  • by Lord Satri ( 609291 ) <alexandreleroux@ ... l.com minus poet> on Monday September 25, 2006 @11:56AM (#16186283) Homepage Journal
    There are *many* alternatives. Read those stories:
    Flickr Adds Geotagging [slashgeo.org]
    Geotagged Photo Browsing Tools for Google Earth [slashgeo.org]
    Picasa Photos in Google Earth [slashgeo.org]
    and the most important one:
    Info on Geocoding Photos [slashgeo.org] which links (in 'related links') to numerous other sources of info.

    Today, you can tag photos using Picasa and Google Earth, Yahoo! and Flickr, or other alternatives such as GPS hardware [slashgeo.org] to geotag your photos directly.
    • Superb post man......... I just discovered Picasa's new features today when I downloaded the update- the tagging feature using Google Earth is brilliant - it feels a little fiddly at first, but after a few minutes I had tagged hundreds of my shots (only another 19,000 to go, then.... no, seriously, I need some kind of batch function)

      Anyway, I havent probed all of the possibilities yet, but I'm sure there's a service where you can upload your JPEGs to a site which will automatically place them on a googl
    • by jonph ( 1005913 )
      Useful post, thank you, but many of these methods are slow and are not likely to include compass direction. I've used a Jelbert GeoTagger and have found that it is ideal for capturing not only position but also direction information and storing it for linking to each picture. Privacy need not be a problem because you can easly switch it off or take it off the camera. The unit is ideal for tagging lots of pictures with geographic information each time - it would be a pain to do it manually for each pictur
  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @12:00PM (#16186333) Homepage Journal
    It's a SONY.
    • The summary clearly states that it's not a SONY.
      • by Stavr0 ( 35032 )
        The summary clearly states that it's not a SONY.

        O RLY? [sonystyle.com]

        • by Stavr0 ( 35032 )
          No not RLY. Must've taken the wrong turn on the Internet Tubes today.
          • I have the same problem, my internets often get delivered to the wrong address. One time my neighbour told me that he got penis-enlargement pills in his internets, I was too embarrased to tell him I had ordered them. :/
        • Your link would have been a brilliant post, if it was in fact where the main story itself linked to. You might want to chck that out before making biting sarcastic commentary. Now you just look like a huge dorfus.
      • by jonph ( 1005913 )
        Of course it isn't a Sony, but we all knew that; and yes Sony do make a tagging product. But the BIG difference is that the Sony one does not include compass direction. So you can pinpoint where a picture was taken, but you have no directional reference. The Jelbert GeoTagger captures location and direction, and I believe it can even include the pitch too. For me this is much more useful.
  • Doubtful, what with Flickr being owned by Yahoo and all.

    • by 10sball ( 80009 )
      yeah, that line in the story read funny to me too. the built in tools for setting geo coords in flickr are indeed yahoo maps, as are the tools to view pphotos

      however, if you don't like yahoo maps there are 3rd party tools already out there (like http://loc.alize.us/ [alize.us] ) that allows for geotagging via gmaps and/or google earth + flickr API
  • by Glacial Wanderer ( 962045 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @12:07PM (#16186419) Homepage
    I wrote a command line application for windows that reads track information off of Garmin and Megellan GPSs (or it can read .gpx files) and then uses that information to update the exif information in the image files based on timestamp information. I'm using it with flickr and it works great. You do need to allow flickr to use exif data here: www.flickr.com/account/geo/exif. Since it updates exif information in jpg files it should work with any photo sharing tools.

    This was meant to be a free simple application that you can just run on all your photos and I think it is just that. No bells, no whistles. It just gets exif data added to all the photos you just took in a quick easy manor.

    You can download GeoPhoto Batcher with source code from: http://moesphoto.glacialwanderer.com/ [glacialwanderer.com]
    • Now that is one slick idea.

      How does it deal with photos that are taken at a time between GPS waypoints? I assume that the 'track files' produced by the GPS are a series of fixed positions and timestamps; e.g. x1,y1,z1,t1;x2,y2,z2,t2, where delta-t varies depending on the resolution you have the GPS recording at. What happens if you take a photo at t1.5? Does it pick the nearest timestamp, or does it interpolate a vector between the two points and estimate one's position at the time? Seems like it could be s
      • Your assumption on how track files works is correct. This app linearly interpolates between the two nearest points (or if it is outside an end point then it just picks the nearest point). One of the command line arguments is the number of seconds you want to allow interpolation between. This prevents the problem of taking pictures on three days, but only taking a gps out the first and last days. You probability don't want to assume all your picture on the middle day were somewhere in the middle. Instea
      • Anyway, very cool. I'd also point out (just to everyone else) that based on the readme on the download page, it's licensed under the GPL. Maybe some enterprising person will make a version for systems other than Linux? I could see something like that being a slick feature in an iPhoto-like management app.

        GPSPhotoLinker [oregonstate.edu] has been doing this on the Mac for two years now. Although it isn't yet integrate with iPhoto, one can use the application as part of their workflow before importing into iPhoto. DF

  • by Forthan Red ( 820542 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @12:07PM (#16186429)
    If you already own a GPS, there are several software-only solutions to perform the same function. Just sync your camera's clock to the GPS clock, and turn on the GPS tracking function. The software will link up locations by matching the photo's time-stamp with the tracklog time-stamp.
    • by garcia ( 6573 )
      Thank you! I was wondering how I could do it w/o a bunch of extra shit that I'm not using already. The only question I have is how accurate the camera's clock has to be (being that the GPS is constantly updated and the camera isn't).

      Are there any specific pieces of software that will take the GPS' tracklog GPX and sync it with the EXIF data or is it more a manual thing?
      • by garcia ( 6573 )
        The only reason I ask is that I see plenty of ways to manually look at the tracklog and get the coords, but I don't want to do anything manually and was hoping that there was some software to do it for you. Perhaps some shell scripts or something else, maybe even for Gallery1?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          There is software, even freeware if you aren't allergic to Microsoft: WWMX Location Stamper [wwmx.org] by MS Research. The camera clock doesn't need to be particularly accurate, unless you move fast while taking pictures. A simple trick is to always start your photo sessions by taking a picture of your GPS unit displaying the current time. Then you can compare the camera time (from the EXIF data) and the GPS time (in the picture) and calculate the offset of the camera clock, which you can then enter into the location
        • by gpsguy2 ( 967292 )
          There is also a pretty minimalist app for Windows called Grazer (http://www.grazer.de) that will load a .gpx file and match the existing photos in a directory. Don't forget to sync the GPS time with your camera clock.

          http://jeepx.blogspot.com/2006/09/geotagging-with- magellan-explorist.html [blogspot.com]
      • by nazanne ( 926750 )
        I use the great, and free OS X app GPS Photo Linker to automatically link my GPS track to my photos' EXIF data. http://oregonstate.edu/~earlyj/gpsphotolinker/ [oregonstate.edu]
      • by Kyro ( 302315 )
        If you're in to buggy open source software and you use GNU/Linux, try out turtle [squeedlyspooch.com] which integrates with the f-spot photo program.
    • by ChrisMDP ( 24123 )
      Yeah, but this does compass direction too... not sure the GPS can do compass direction to any degree of accuracy without movement.
    • by jonph ( 1005913 )
      The problems with this method with the Jelbert GeoTagger seems to overcome are: 1. The GPS software is not going to know which way you are facing when you stop and take a picture, the Jelbert GeoTagger uses real compass data from the Garmin GPS unit (not a GPS compass). 2. If the sample rate on the GPS track is more than a few seconds then it is going to be inaccurate. This GeoTagger captures the position at the moment the picture is taken, it doesn't rely on predictions based on a constant movement. Thi
  • Until my digital camera automatically tags all photos with the information then uploads them wirelessly and automatically up to my flickr or other site, then logs the photos into google earth or whatever. I can't be arsed. Really all this is completely automatable so why would I bother?

  • by i4u ( 234028 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @12:16PM (#16186567) Homepage
    Grazer is now free The tool synchronizes GPS location information in GPX format and matches the timestamp of the location information with the timestamp on the EXIF header of your photos.
    http://www.i4u.com/article6502.html [i4u.com]

    Sony has released a GPS Geotagger gadget: Using time and location recordings from Sony's GPS-CS1 GPS device and the time stamp from a Sony digital still camera or camcorder, you can plot your digital images to a map and pinpoint exactly where you've been.
    http://www.i4u.com/article6207.html [i4u.com]
  • Of course GPS does not work inside buildings. The website says other hardware used 'bad' ways to retrieve inside-building location information, but they give no clue on how they do it themselves! How can I judge if their system is better?!

    Additionnaly, most of the work is done by RoboGeo [slashgeo.org], which must be purchased seperately.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
      No, most of the work is done by the GPS, which you must purchase separately. Then the software, which you must also purchase separately. This device, which costs 150 pounds, doesn't do anything but ask the GPS for the location when you press the shutter button.
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @12:36PM (#16186811)
    Um, most handheld digital cameras dont have a flash shoe, so this is sort of irrelevant.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Aczlan ( 636310 )
      not to be rude or anything but most CONSUMER grade digital cameras dont have a hotshoe however many high end/professional ones do (search eBay for "professional digital camera")

      here are some examples:
      a Canon one [ebay.com]
      a Nikon one [ebay.com]
      • Which is why I said "most". If you do the math, there's more $150 cameras out there in the hands of the great unwashed, than there are pro cameras.
    • The pro side is the device retains compatibility with classic film slrs ; the con side, it's way too big for my OM1 ! Couldn't have they put just the GPS receiver part on the hot shoe, and use whatever link (be it bluetooth or even a wire) to hold the recorder in a pocket ? As it is, I don't see how you can snap a pic without a tripod. The weight would necessarily tilt and shake the body.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by karrde ( 853 )
      Most people willing to put out the $600 investment this requires likely have a camera worth more than that. And those cameras have a flash shoe.
  • Yet another way for people to voluntarily give up any sort of privacy they had left
    • It is a person's choice to:
      1) Use such a device
      2) Share the resulting data with others

      Only you can protect your privacy. Don't blame the technology.
      • idk... the technology is great, don't get me wrong, but people are idiots and entities such as the government take advantage of that.
        • It is actually good to know where all the idiots are. We have to protect them against themselves.

          Additionally, because it is a well known fact that politicians are mostly technological idiots, I wonder when we will first be able to dismantle a conspiracy :-))).
  • There is some software out there to coordinate GPS devices and a digical camera. See <shameless plug>this post for some alternatives [panoramio.com]</shameless plug>.

    Richard Akerman also has an excellent summary on the currently available software/hardware to geotag photos [chebucto.ns.ca].

  • Using the hot shoe is a great hack. The device looks kind of clunky and the need to take action to integrate the geo-tagging data with the photos is a pain, but more and better will follow, right?
    • by Scooter ( 8281 )
      It's not a bad solution, and the clunkiness is not their fault - it's the fault of digital camara producers: I guess the digital cameras coming to us from "traditional" camera manufacturers have some sort of excuse for not thinking too radically about the "device" side of things (it's wearing thin though), but what is Sony's excuse, or any of the other consumer electronics companies now making cameras? Why don't digital cameras all talk bluetooth? Why can't high end cameras talk to bluetooth GPS device
      • They do indeed lag, but not just on the device side. Digital 35mm format cameras have only recently offered full frame sensors, which is kind of nice to have for the purposes of actually taking photos. They still lag behind their film counterparts in terms of speed and metering and AF and various other areas. Professional photographers are a cantankerous group. You actually see less in the way of new features on pro level cameras, the high level consumer stuff is usually the first to debut them.
  • Get a photograph GeoTagged at ll=61.26426,-149.851316. You are not allowed to wear any uniform while doing it.

  • This "product" is completely bogus.

    From the article:

    "The Jelbert GeoTagger has a mount for the Garmin Gecko 301 GPS receiver which must be fitted in order to operate (purchased separately)."

    This thing costs 149 british pounds, and ALL IT IS is a serial port connected to a processor that translates NMEA sentences to location and directional information, connected to an SD slot. You have to buy a GPS unit for it to work!

    Hey, at least for 150USD sony throws in the GPS!

    You'd be better off rolling

  • That thing is gonna cost you nearly $300 US a pop AND you have to purchase a software to use it. Way too much for your everyday user (hiker/boy scouts) IMHO, I can see a nitch market but somehow I don't see this product to take off anytime soon. However, I do like the concept or marking the photographs with geographical locations but unless they start to have built-in GPS system inside the everyday point-and-click cameras, I don't see it becoming very popular.
  • Known for his love of nature, particularly of the mountains and caves and all the beauty therein, O B Laden was given 3 new cameras to test: NikOnTarget, Olymwillnotmiss, and the much anticipated Canon Fodder.

  • Wow this is great. By coincidence I typed a memo into my mobile phone, a napkin-back spec for a device that has what this one does, and a week later it appears all finished on slashfot! Well, they are perhaps missing one component but I am not going to post it here. I think I'm going to try it again.
  • Friends don't let friends buy Sony. They probably embed the geodata in the image pixels so they can always find you.
  • There are already a few Ricoh cameras which can connect to a GPS device (bluetooth or serial, I assume) so this is a pretty stupid way to get GPS info on photos. I can't find the official product page, but here's a random link: Caplio 500SE B/W [letsgodigital.org]. I don't have one so I don't really know how exactly they work, but I'd guess better than this hack.
  • This is close - it captures location, time, and direction. Now all it needs is angle (azimuth). From the product description: "...tilting can stop the GPS receiver and compas from working properly..." Ok, fix this glitch and add azimuth info. Next, make it small enough to fit into a point-and-shoot. To all those privacy freaks - just don't record the information about the shot. You can also eliminate any EXIF data on your pics if you want. As for me - I find it extremely useful to know where I took a shot a
  • is that Sony's rootkit will prevent your camera from taking photos where those famous Ansel Adams pictures were taken in order to avoid copyright infringement and that the battery may catch on fire if you try to disconnect the device from your camera while "on location."
  • I thought GPS's were to be embeded into mobile phones for security reasons in the USofA. from there is would be and easy task to have some software to metadata the GPS info into any photos that the camera takes. Then MMS/GPRS the photos you wish to share to where ever.
  • I see this making cyber stalking easier. Look at it this way. You find your new girlfriend on the geophoto site, you see that she uploads pictures every saturday from a park or event, and then you just go there.
  • Um, I kind of think submitting your own product to Slashdot is a bit tacky. There are lots of other alternatives, and the Sony GPS-CS1 that sits in a little corner of my backpack is a heck of a lot more convenient than what looks like quite a bulky chunk of equipment sitting on top of a camera.

    I have reviewed the Sony GPS-CS1 [typepad.com], and I also have an extensive webpage on geocoding photos [akerman.ca] using GPS or manually.

  • How many people have a camera with a flash hotshoe ? Most cameras have integrated flash & no shoe, unless your aiming for the professional market, but you've just missed out on a large number of consumers with digital compacts.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell