How do you find the GPS coordinates of your photos? :: Digital Photo Secrets

How do you find the GPS coordinates of your photos?

by David Peterson 23 comments

Isn’t technology great? More and more cameras have GPS built right into them. The moment you take a photo, your camera records exactly where you took it. But while most of the photography is out there taking advantage of this feature, some of us are left scratching our heads wondering where we can find these magical GPS coordinates. In this article, you’ll learn what you can do to access GPS coordinates and use them to improve your photo sharing experience.

Can you guess where this photo was taken?
Photo By Flickr User: Fikret Onal

Does your camera have a GPS feature?

Before you go searching for GPS tagged photos (also called geotagged images), you might want to know if your camera even takes them. Sadly, most modern point-and-shoot cameras do not feature a GPS system for geotagging. It was a more popular feature back in 2008 when smartphones were first hitting the market, but now that smartphones are nearly everywhere, less and less people want a point-and-shoot camera with GPS.

However, if you do have a smartphone with a camera, you’re in luck. Almost all smartphone cameras geotag the photos they take. As a matter of fact, I would be very surprised if I found a smartphone that doesn’t do this. It would have to be a pretty old model. Note: If your have an iPhone or an Android phone, you need to give the camera app access to the GPS data, so it can store it with your photo.

Some digital SLRs also feature a GPS, but most of them don’t. Nikon and Canon both sell special adapters
that geotag the photos you take, and there are quite a few third-party devices that do the same thing. These devices will set you back about $200. If you do a ton of traveling (and I mean more than just a few trips a year), they’re worth it. Otherwise, it’s a lot easier to enter the location data by hand.

Where is the GPS information stored?

You may or may not know this, but your camera stores a bunch of data about every picture you take. It records the aperture, shutter speed, ISO speed, camera mode, focal distance, and sometimes even more than that. All of this is stored in the EXIF data, an extra piece of information attached to every picture file your camera creates.

EXIF data has been around since the early days of digital photography. Back then, it didn’t really tell you much about the photo you just took, but now it will tell you nearly everything. Other kinds of files have EXIF data. You can access EXIF data in audio and video files as well.

How can I access my GPS information?

There are several ways, and some of them are more useful and prettier than others. It all depends on the computer you’re using. Here are a few ways to get the GPS information from your photos.

On a Mac

If you’re using a Mac, you can access your GPS information by simply right clicking on the photo file you want to view and then picking “get info.”

This will bring up a box showing all of the EXIF data attached to that particular image file.

On a PC

It’s a little different on a PC, but it’s pretty much the same thing. Right click on your image, and then pick “properties.” From there, a similar window should pop up showing all the EXIF data, including the location of the picture you just took.

Using Apple iPhoto

iPhoto, a program that comes with your Mac, does some pretty cool things with location data. It doesn’t just show you where you a took a single photo. It will place your photos all over a map using little pins so you can see the big picture. This is a really awesome feature when you’re showing your photos to your friends.

To get started, open iPhoto. If you’ve never used iPhoto before, it will take a few moments to load all of your photos into its database. Once you’re ready, click on the “places” icon on the left under Library.

Once you’ve done that, you should see a map with a bunch of pins on it, each denoting a location where you’ve taken a picture. To see any of your photos, just click on the pin and iPhoto will take you to a list of the photos.

With iPhoto, you can actually use the location data that comes with your photos. Let’s look at another more public way to do the same thing.

Using Panoramio to share your geotagged photos

Panoramio is a fun service for sharing your geotagged photos with the rest of the world. Simply create an account and upload your photos. Panoramio will do the hard work for you, taking all that geolocation data and crunching it into a worldwide database of images that anyone can access by typing in the name of a place.

Panoramio is owned and operated by Google. If you already have a Goole account, you should be able to get started right away without signing up.

Once you’ve logged in, Panoramio keeps it simple. Just click on the “choose file” button to pick a file you want to upload.

Panoramio allows you to upload as many as ten photos at a time. Once you’ve uploaded them, you can add in a description and tags as well. If you want, you can also look at a map of your photos, just like the one available through iPhoto. To find it, just click on the “Your Photos” link under the title bar of the site.

Panoramio shows your photos, as well as those uploaded by others, near the locations where your photos are geotagged. It’s a great way to get inspired to take different kinds of pictures in your local area.

So there you have it. Those are just a few ways to get the most out of your geotagged photos. If you have any questions about any of these tips, leave a comment below or send me an email. I’m happy to help you out.

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  1. Chris says:

    Google are shuttering panoramio so don't waste time uploading there.

  2. Wendell says:

    That mosque is nowhere near large enough to be the Blue Mosque in Turkey. Also, the blue mosque is not adjacent to the Bosphurous. It is near it but not next to it.

    For verification, count the minarets.

  3. Frank says:

    Looks like the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

    • byns says:

      blue mosque is well-known mosque in istanbul but actualy it is ortaky mosque.

  4. Debbie says:

    While I get the benefits of geotagging photos, please be very aware of the dangers as well. It's becoming more and more prevalent for child predators to locate children from the (usually unknowingly) geotagged photos of kids posted on social networks. Predators are easily able to locate the homes of the children right down to maps leading them to the front door. If you're going to post your pics online, be sure to turn off the GPS feature on your camera or your smartphone.

  5. eric says:

    I know exactly where that photo was taken because I have stood there. It is in Istanbul, Turkey.

  6. says:

    The poll secrets at the rear of the battle. Her audible maker stresses the process. The whack flashes! His high end tips over the grandaddy. A cell coughs a microcomputer.

  7. Td says:

    If someone takes a picture of one of my pictures can they get gps coordinates off the picture they just took

  8. Paco Fernández says:

    In you can upload your pictures, if your photo have geotags, will tell you where was maked the photograph, else if dont have geotags, give you the option to geolocate your pictures your self. And you can send your geolocated photos to friends to show where you did your photo.

  9. Orlando Borraccino says:

    GDay David. I have just red your article of 11 Jun 2011 on GPS coordinates. ""
    I hope youre still there.

    The best reason I have for geotagging is that it allows you to find your way back to a location especially when travelling.

    On the 2d of January 1974 I set on the road from Melbourne to Townsville with my wife and our three children. Then, we had no GPS, no knowledge of Australia or the English language - we came in Australia at the end of August 1973. It was a very wet experience as well as a culture shock that taught us many things about Australia and its people.
    On 9th of January 2009 my wife and I decided to jump in our car and redo the road to Townsville. This time, departing from Adelaide, we had wit us a GPS, a good knowledge of Australia and the English language and ... no children to care for or worry about!

    This time we could be a little more adventurous that we had been when travelling North in our Toyota Crown or South in February 1975 in a Nissan Patrol and a BIG Glendale caravan in tow.
    This time we slept in comfortable caravan park cabins and went around knowing that we would not get lost thanks to our GPS with geotagging camera an I90S Navman. A feature I believe should be inbuilt in every GPS or Smart Phone that has a GPS on it.
    It worked like this: Whenever we left a place where we wanted to return Caravan Park, we would take a picture of the cabin in which we stayed and go, knowing that our GPS would guide us back the geotagged picture our cabin.
    Unfortunately, the I90S stopped working once and again after I had it repaired. Now I have a MY75 GPS and a Samsung galaxy with GPS. But they do not have that wonderful feature that I so much miss! Why GPS manufacturers do not of that? Or is it there a way to do the same with the GPSs that I have?

  10. Joe says:

    You can map out your iPhone photos by using the FREE Photo Mapo app. It combines your photo with a map and let's you share it to Facebook, Twitter and Email. It tells you what the latitude / longitude / altitude where when you took the photo. Lots of other options as well. I use it when I'm on vacation and want to share my photos along the way.

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