Geo-Tagging: A Guide to My New Favorite Hobby

geotag.jpgI have to admit that until recently I didn’t really get the idea of geo-tagging. It sounded too much like some kind of way for a marine biologist to track migrating dolphins. Yawn. Then I discovered that geo-tagging was actually something much more fun. Geo-tagging, I learned, means that when I take a picture, the GPS data of my current location is stored in the image file on my camera. But how can I put this data to use and share it with friends? This weekend I decided I was sick and tired of being ill-informed in the art of geo-tagging so I went out with our review unit Nokia N82 with two goals: learn how to geo-tag, and figure out a way to show our readers how to do the same. I wish I could begin this guide with a host of cameras that you can purchase and go geo-tagging with, but the fact is there aren’t any cameras with built-in GPS or AGPS right now (but you can splurge for a camera accessory like the Sony GPS-CS1). I found the best tool for geo-tagging is a phone with AGPS/GPS capabilities, a built-in camera, and support for software like ShoZu, which lets you automatically upload geo-tagged photos to the popular photo destinations on the Web. We suggest using a Nokia N82, N95, or 6220 Classic. Each of these phones has a built-in, 5-MP camera for great shots, but they’ll cost you a pretty penny to purchase. If you’re not properly equipped, fret not; technically you can geo-tag with any camera. Sites like Flickr let you drag and drop your photos on a map yourself. The benefit of having a GPS-enabled device, of course, is that it remembers your location and places each photo on a map for you. laptopwashere.jpgTo get started, visit www.shozu.com and www.flickr.com (both are free) and register accounts with each. Select your device on ShoZu, enter your registration information, and then install the software on your mobile phone. Once you’ve installed the software on your phone and are logged into ShoZu’s Web site, you’ll need to link Flickr up so that your photos can be uploaded from your phone in one click. Click My ShoZu, then click Add Site. Select Flickr from the list of destinations, then follow the menu giving ShoZu access to your Flickr account. Next, open the ShoZu application on your phone, click Share-It > Destinations > Flickr. From now on, after every photo you take, ShoZu will ask you if you’d like to upload the photo directly to Flickr. The last step is to enable geo-tagging in the ShoZu application on your phone. To do this click Options > Go to > Settings > Share-It, and set GPS Tagging to “On.” On Friday afternoon, a bunch of the LAPTOP employees went out to grab a quick bite. Nokia N82 in hand to geo-tag I first opened the GPS software and got a GPS connection. Then I opened the camera application and started taking pictures of whatever I wanted. The link between a GPS satellite and my camera created the geo-tag log. After each picture, ShoZu asked if I’d like to upload automatically to Flickr, which I did. When I got home, all of my pictures were stored online, and I found that it took about 5 minutes for each to arrive in my Flickr photo collection. Once you’re back on a computer and logged into Flickr, if you click Map you’ll see all of your geo-tagged photos scattered across the map, each marking the location they were taken. Here’s where the folks without geo-tagging equipment can manually upload their pictures. Flickr also lets you drag and drop your images around on a map, so if you remember where you took the picture, you can geo-tag yourself. So there you have it: my weekend geo-tagging around New York City. I have to admit, it’s one of the coolest experiences I’ve had with a digital camera in a long time. My friends can all check out the hotspots I hung out at over the weekend, and if I were to take a vacation, they could see every place I visited. I would love to continue keeping a travel journal of pictures online, scattered across a map, so that when a friend of mine travels to a spot I’ve already been—Rome for example—they’ll know exactly where to go for similar shots. Try it for yourself and send in maps of the places you’ve visited, as well as any geo-tagging tips you might have. What’s your favorite hardware/software combo? We’d love to hear your opinions.

Tags: Nokia N82
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  1. nalbam Says:

    I use geo-tagging with BlackBerry.
    And upload or send mail to spickr ( http://spic.kr/ )
    It will be displayed on the map like this.
    http://spic.kr/h05t4n

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