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Archive for the 'geotagging' Category Page 2 of 4

Easy Ways To Get Latitude/Longitude For A Screen Point In Google Earth

In the lower left-hand corner of Google Earth, there’s a latitude/longitude readout that shows the position at the cursor position:

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But if you want to record this position, the screen readout is graphical, so you can’t copy the numbers directly from Google Earth using a copy-and-paste operation; you have to write them out manually. One way around this is to create a placemark in Google Earth, and drag it to the desired location; the latitude and longitude will show up in the placemarks properties window, from which you can copy and paste them into a different app:

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Another option is to use David Tryse’s Google Earth Position application. No installation, just run the program at the same time as Google Earth:

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With Auto checked, it will update the position at the center of your Google Earth display continuously; unchecked, you’ll need to click the “GetPos” button to update the position. Clicking on the various “Copy” buttons copies position data into your clipboard for pasting into various programs:

Copy LatLong: 34.756012    -111.495048

Copy LookAt: 34.756012    -111.495048    0    812729.99    0.00    -9.43

Copy LatLong KML: <coordinates>-111.495048,34.756012,0</coordinates>

Copy LookAt KML: <LookAt>

With Auto unchecked, you can also enter a position into the Latitude and Longitude boxes at the top, and “FlyTo” that position in Google Earth. The numbered boxes at the bottom can save a current location (Shift-Click on the button), fly to a saved position (click on the button), or recall a saved position without flying to it (Alt-Click).

One big problem: there’s no center cursor or marker in Google Earth to indicate the center of the screen, so finding the position of a specific location might be difficultFixed in the latest version. But here’s a simple little KMZ file that puts a crosshair overlay at the center of the Google Earth screen, getting around this problem:

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David’s website has several other apps worth a look. Google Earth Photo Tag lets you use Google Earth to embed location information into JPEG pictures (note: requires the Exiv2.exe command-line program in the same directory) . While I prefer Picasa for this task, GE Photo Tag does let you modify the balloon style for KML image files, which Picasa doesn’t. LatLong Conversion converts from degrees-minutes-seconds to decimal degrees and vice-versa, supporting more formats for the input data than other similar converters.

The Simplest Windows Photo GeoTagging Tool

The website for GEOTaggingTool is in Russian, there’s no English documentation there, and there’s no help file included with the program. But as long as you can find the download link at upper left for version 0.5.1, that’s all you need. The program itself is in English, and there’s no install program; just unzip it into a folder. This has to be the simplest Windows photo geotagging application out there; click one button to open the GPX track, click another to open the images folder, then click “Process GEOTagging!” and the images will be geotagged (but be warned, the old images will be overwritten with the new geotagged versions without notice).

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The only available options are setting the time offset and window for matching GPS track times with photo times, but GEOTaggingTool handled the time offset between my local camera time and UTC GPS time without touching these. Fast, simple and easy.

Note: Requires Microsoft .Net 2.0.

Simple Geotagged Photo KML File Creator For PC/Mac

PhotoKML is a small (<300K download) Java application (PC and Mac) that takes a folder full of geotagged photos, and creates a KML file with points linked to moderate-sized thumbnails of those photos. Interface is simple; select a folder containing georeferenced photos, and a folder where you want to save the KMZ file:

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Make sure the “Yes” button is selected at the top. While the program says it’s able to georeference photos using a GPS file, the only format it accepts is the “.trk” format. If you have your track in a more standard format like GPX, good luck finding a program that can convert it to the “trk” format (I couldn’t even get GPSBabel to work). If you want the point icons in Google Earth to be mini-versions of the pictures instead of pushpins, check the box at the bottom.

Click “Generate KML”, and you’ll have your KMZ file in a few seconds; you’ll have to open it manually in Google Earth:

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Nothing fancy, but PhotoKML does the job quickly and easily.

Microsoft’s New Photo Geotagging Tool

I covered Microsoft’s old photo geotagging tool WMMX Location Stamper a while ago in this post. Location Stamper uses Microsoft’s MapPoint maps in the display, which are already out-of-date, and I said it would be nice if they could add Virtual Earth to the app but wasn’t holding my breath. Good thing, because Microsoft has apparently abandoned that program in favor of a new one called Microsoft Pro Photo Tools. This is actually more than just a simple photo geotagging tool – it’s a full EXIF header editor, allowing individual or batch editing of metadata like description, keywords, copyright, date and time, etc. But here, I’ll talk mainly about the geotagging capabilities.

After you load in an image or set of images, they’ll be displayed in a thumbnail view at the bottom; click on the MapBrowse tab, and you’ll get a 2-D Microsoft Virtual Earth view, with the option of 3-D if you have that installed on your system (if you don’t, you’ll be given the option to install it then and there). You now have several choices for geotagging photos:

  • Right-click on a photo or group of selected photos, and choose “Select GPS location for this image”. This will create a pushpin on the map that you can drag to the desired location
  • If you have address/location information in the EXIF header, or if you enter it now, and click the “Get GPS Info” button, the program will look up the coordinates for that location, and tag the photo with those coordinates. Conversely, if the photo is already geotagged, you can look up a geographic location associated with those coordinates by clicking the “Get location text” button, and have that entered into the picture’s EXIF header. That includes numerical street addresses, a feature that other similar programs like GeoSetter don’t have.
  • As with other geotagging programs, you can load in a GPX file, and have the program associate coordinates with the pictures based on time. Load in a track with the “Load from file” button, select all the thumbnails you want to geotag, and click the “Place images on map” button. There’s a checkbox labeled “look up address when placing images on the map”; I tried clicking this, and got no results, but when the geotagging was done, address/location info was automatically entered for each photo’s Location metadata. You’ll have the option of selecting either “Minutes” or “Hours” for the variability in matching track time with photo time, and there’s also a slider that lets you fine-tune the time match. Other programs require you to enter an offset between local time and UTC, but Pro Photo Tools can apparently do that automatically. Once you click “Done”, coordinates will be assigned to all the photos, and pushpins plotted on the map view. Move the cursor over each pushpin to see a thumbnail for the image.

It’s important to remember that you have to tell the program to save the images with the new coordinate data and metadata (File => Save All Images with new data) If you exit with explicitly saving that data, it will be lost.

You can view the images in either the standard 2-D mode, or in VE’s 3-D mode:

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You can also load in geotagged photos, display them in Virtual Earth, and edit them. Pro Photo Tools lets you create a track from these imported photos, but oddly doesn’t let you export this track in GPX or similar format; hopefully, that will be added soon. And you can’t create a KML or similar file from the photos, as many other geotagging programs can. But still, this is a solid geotagging program from Microsoft, and a big step up from Location Stamper. While it won’t replace GeoSetter in my toolbox, Pro Photo Tools EXIF editing capabilities and address lookup feature make it a useful complement.

Two Photo Geotagging Briefs

– Activity Workshop writes to say that his multi-platform GPS track management and photo geotagging application Prune has been updated (see earlier Prune posts here and here). New features include:

  • New map window in the View menu, showing points overlaid on OpenStreetMap images
  • New function to launch a browser showing the area in either Google Maps or OpenStreetMap
  • Handling of track segments, including loading, saving and exporting, and preservation during edit and undo
  • New function to merge track segments for the current selection, to make one single segment
  • Display of current and average speed on details panel
  • Status bar showing confirmation of actions
  • Much improved French texts thanks to generous user input

Written in Java, and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux

– Need to geotag a photo, but don’t have an application like Prune, GeoSetter or GPicSync handy? You can do it online using the Sunday Morning Rides GeoTag utility. Specify the location in a Google Maps interface, set the coordinates, upload the image (JPG only), and a minute or so later you’ll see the geotagged image (or part of it) on the web page. Then right-click on the image and save it to your computer. Even though you may only see part of the image on-screen, it does tag and save the entire image, apparently losslessly. Sunday Morning Rides also has an online GPX track builder and waypoint utility.

Geotagging Photos With GPSed

In the comments to my post on GeoSetter, someone suggested I take a look at GPSed Photo Take’n’Pin as an option for geotagging photos. GPSed itself is a service for uploading and sharing GPS track and point data. From the website’s FAQ:

GPSed, a location-based and geotagging service, is designed to enable real-time tracking from mobile devices and collecting track data in an online archive.
The service is designated for hikers, bikers, drivers, tourists, adventure travelers, sportsmen, photographers and GPS/GIS professionals working in various industries such as forestry, fishery, transportation and others. GPSed can also be used just for having fun.

GPSed Photo Take’n’Pin is their free application designed to use GPS track data to geotag photos. Gave it a spin, and wasn’t terribly impressed:

  • You apparently can’t use a local GPX track file on your computer to geotag the photos, only one that you’ve already upload to the GPSed website. Since you likely already have that track on your computer, there’s no reason not to use a better geotagging program that supports local GPX files like GeoSetter. By way of contrast, the similar service locr provides a free application that does let you use your own GPS data to geotag your photos.
  • I say “apparently” above because I couldn’t get the program to geotag my standard test photoset even with an online track, and there’s no help file in either the program or the website to help me sort out what the problem might be.
  • Even if I could successfully geotag a photo with the GPSed Take’n’Pin application, there’s nothing I can do with it on the GPSed website. You can take the photos and export them to Google Earth, Picasa, or Flickr, but you don’t need this program to do that. With locr, you can upload the photo to the website and share it and its location with others.
  • The program crashed on me several times (I’ll cut it some slack on that, since it’s labeled as a beta).

Given those issues, I’ll stick with my previous statement that GeoSetter is the best geotagging application I’ve seen to date, with GPicSync a worthy alternative. Even if GPSed Photo Take’n’Pin worked as advertised, it doesn’t offer any features to make it worthwhile.

Prune Updated: Now With Automated Photo Geotagging For Windows, Mac, And Linux

Prune is a Java-based GPS-track viewing and editing program that runs in Windows, Mac and Linux. When I last posted about it, the photo geotagging capability was a bit awkward – it required you to manually link a photo to a trackpoint, not automatically correlating trackpoints with photos based on time like most photo geotagging software. Version 4.1 is now out, and it now can automatically correlate and tag photos with data from a GPX track file. You need to have EXIFTool installed on your system; for Windows, put it the same folder as Prune, or into a system folder. Open a GPX track with File => Open Command, select either individual photos or an entire folder with File => Add Photos (or Photo => Add Photos). Select the photos you want to geotag in the file list at left, then select Photo => Correlate All Photos:

geotag photos with Java Prune

Prune lets you adjust for the time difference between the camera time and the GPS time (the former is usually the local time, the latter UTC). You can also set the correlation limits, i.e. how close the time or distance a trackpoint needs to be in order to be correlated with a picture. After correlating photos with track, you still have to select Photo => Save to EXIF to have the position data written into the picture’s data:

Save to EXIF

If you leave “Overwrite file” unchecked, the original will be saved with “_original” appended to the file extension; it would probably make more sense to append it to the filename instead, but that’s apparently a limitation of EXIFTool.

Another useful new feature in Prune is the ability to create a GPX file from an imported set of geotagged photos. Add the photos to the file list with the Photo => Add Photo command, select File => Export GPX, and Prune will create a GPX track file, connecting all the points where a photo was taken in the correct order.

Other new features in Prune:

  • Automatic correlation of photos with points based on timestamps
  • Manual disconnection of photos from points
  • Reading of photo thumbnails from EXIF data (speeds up photo loading)
  • KML and KMZ export now includes altitude option for airborne tracks
  • Track points in map can be connected by lines
  • On loading a text file, fields are now guessed according to data or column headings
  • Polish language

Prune is released under GPL, and there’s a copy of the source code available for download. Not sure I would use Prune instead of GeoSetter for photo geotagging in Windows, but it looks like a great free alternative for Mac and Linux users, who have fewer free geotagging options.

Stamping Geotagged Photos With XMP Location And Coordinates

4/26/09: GPStamper is now a commercial program; there’s a trial version that runs for 30 days, and free versions are available for non-commercial scientific work and surveys.

I posted earlier on GPStamper, a handy free utility that takes a geotagged photo and prints the coordinates and time it was taken at on the bottom of the image, saving a copy of it losslessly (no degradation of the original JPG image), leaving the original image untouched. Mike Lee, the author of GPStamper, writes to say that he’s upgraded the program with a few new features:

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