GPS coordinates are a handy way to organize your photos. With geotags, you and your friends can easily see where your photos were taken. You can also share your unique perspective when you upload your photos to different social media sites like Panoramio and Flickr. It’s a great way to generate interest in your photography and expose the world to your work.
GPS devices have undergone a significant drop in price over the years. At one point in time, GPS was only available in standalone navigation devices. You had to pay at least $500 for a GPS receiver. These days, your dog’s water bowl probably contains a GPS device. So do most new digital cameras. If you have purchased a digital camera in the last year, there’s a fair bet that you’ve been taking pictures with geotags.
What Are Geotags?
A “geotag” can be a lot of different things. In most cases, it’s a longitude and latitude reading that is attached to your photo’s EXIF information. Don’t worry if you’re a little confused right now. I’ll explain.
EXIF information is an extra bit of data that’s attached to every photo file your camera creates. It contains information on the shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, time of day, and several other factors that went into creating your unique photo. Whenever you take a picture, EXIF information is created to describe how the photo was taken.
You can access your EXIF information by right clicking on a photo and selecting "get info" (on a Mac) or Preferences and choosing the Details tab (Windows). It’s also accessible from your camera. My Nikon has a little “i” that I can press while I’m reviewing my photos. It displays all of the information contained in the EXIF data.
Geotags don’t always just contain latitude and longitude. Some cameras are so sophisticated that their geotags contain information on elevation and compass bearings. With this kind of data, people will not only know where you took your picture. They’ll know where your camera was pointed while you were taking it. Very cool stuff!
What Can You Do With Geotags?
People love to share their photos. They also love to share their travels. That’s what is so great about geotagging. It allows you to do both at the same time. If you are new to geotagging, here a few things you can try out.
Use iPhoto. Mac users will love this one. The newest version of iPhoto supports geotags with a really great looking map feature. You don’t have to do a thing. Simply put your photos on your computer and iPhoto automatically organizes them by location. Once that’s done (it takes longer if you have a lot of photos), you can bring up the map and show your photos to your friends. Easy.
Share your photos with Panoramio. I’ve spoken a little bit about Panoramio. It’s a wonderful site for sharing your travel photos with the world. When you upload a photo to Panoramio, it automatically notices the geotags and places it in the exact same location on the map.
Google Earth features Panoramio by default. That means any Google Earth user can stumble upon your photos just by looking at the map. This is a fantastic source of traffic if you’re looking to introduce your photography to the world.
How To GeoTag Your Photos When Your Camera Doesn’t Have GPS
GPS is still fairly new. Not every camera features it. If your camera doesn’t support GPS, you can always add geotags on your own. Here’s how it is done.
PC Users: Download a program called GeoSetter for Windows. It will allow you to access and edit your photo’s EXIF information so you can add in GPS coordinates.
Mac Users: Use iPhoto. The maps feature allows you to add in GPS coordinates.
Internet Users: Whenever you upload your photos to Panoramio, you are given the option to geotag the ones that don’t already have geotags.
There are a number of other budget-conscious GPS tagging options. The ATP Photo Finder is a clever solution. Just keep it with you while you are shooting and insert your SD card once you are finished taking the photos. The Photo Finder will automatically geotag your photos based on the time you took them.
Whether you are out and about or just taking a staycation this summer, geotagging is a great way to organize your photos. While we are on the topic, I would love to see where you’ve been during the hottest months of the year. Keep sending me your vacation photos.
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