Three ways to geolocate your D-SLR photos

Posted by ryanjackson on Oct 4, 2012 in photos, Shot-by-Shot Explanation, training

I love being able to geolocate my photos. Especially when the photos can be used for data mapping or interactive before/after projects.

Most smartphones like the iPhone have GPS built-in and can automatically geotag your images for you.

Turn on location services for your iPhone or enable the GPS on your Android phone to embed the GPS co-ordinates in all your camera photos.

But what about your D-SLR? New D-SLRs coming out will have GPS built-in but what about the camera in your hand right now?

Here are three methods I use:

Method #1. Get the location from Google Maps.

If you can remember exactly where you were standing when you shot an image you can just use Google Maps to find the GPS position afterwards.

Go to http://maps.google.com and zoom into the area you took a photo. Then Right Click (CNTR-Click on a Mac) at the exact spot you want and then select “What’s Here?”. The GPS Longitude and Latitude will appear in the search box.

Method #2: Just take a picture with your smartphone at the same location as your D-SLR.

Upload the image to http://regex.info/exif.cgi and it will tell you the embedded GPS info.
Once you have this Info you can map it with Google Maps.

You can then embed the gps location into your D-SLR picture by using exiftool.


Add “-overwrite_original” to the command or else it will create a backup copy of the image.

You can find exiftool for Mac or PC or Linux here.  Also try googling “Exiftool GUI” if you want a graphical user interface.

It may look complicated to use a command-line tool but it is actually very powerful. Check out this awesome tutorial on scripting Exiftool with with Automator.

This method is okay for one simple picture but isn’t there a better way?

There are two different ways to represent longitude and latitude: Minutes and Seconds or Decimal Degrees.

Go to http://boulter.com/gps/ to convert your GPS coordinates into decimal degrees.

Method #3: Sync a GPS route from your iPhone/Android to a batch of images.

This is the method I have been using lately and I like it. Mainly because I find the app to be very reliable.

Simply launch the EveryTrail app and run it for the day that you are taking pictures. At the end of the day you can sync all your photos with GPS Photo Linker.

How does it work?  
Basically the app creates a “.gpx” file which contains data like this: Date, Time, Lat, Long, Date, Time, Lat, Long, Date, Time, Lat, Long, etc.
GPS Photo Linker looks at the time each of your photos was taken and correlates it to the closest GPS point.

What you need:

1. Use the free GPS Photo Linker program on your Mac or GpicSync for PC  to sync your photos with the GPS track.
2. Buy the EveryTrail Pro app for you iPhone or Android phone.

EveryTrail.com is a cool online trail mapping site. It has a lot of cool features but we are only interested in creating creating a GPS route of our walk.
You can make a GPS route of your trip and then upload a .GPX file to the web to download and sync with your pictures.

Here’s the process:

  1. Download and install the app. I think you need to buy Pro version because the Free version doesn’t let you upload the .GPX files.
  2. Setup an Account in the App.
  3. Go into settings and change your GPS precision.
  4. Click “Start Tracking” under “My Map”
  5. When you are done, Select “Pause” and then “Finish”
  6. Upload the Trip to EveryTrail.com
  7. Now go to EveryTrail.com and log in with the username and password you setup.
  8. Click on “My Tracks”
  9. Scroll down the page and you’ll find a link to “Download GPX for your GPS”

Now launch GPS Photo Linker or GpicSync and sync your photos with the .gpx file. The program will automatically embed the GPS longitude and latitude in the photo’s EXIF info.

Here is another tutorial on this process.

This may seem like a lot of work but you will thank yourself in a month, year or decade when you wonder where you took that beautiful picture.

This process is also a HUGE time saver when you are shooting aerial photos and need to figure out what you were shooting after the fact.

 

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North Saskatchewan River Keeper

Posted by ryanjackson on Oct 1, 2012 in portrait

Edmonton Journal reporter Elise Stolte and I got to take a trip down the North Saskatchewan river with Glen Isaac who is the Executive Director of the North Saskatchewan River Keeper. Basically his job is to ensure the river is kept clean, respected and enjoyed by people. An important job.

Isaac’s friend and fellow River Keeper member Doug Boyer took us out for a tour of the river on his jet boat. However after two hours, something went wrong with the impeller on the boat and we could only move 3 km/h. It wasn’t a bad thing though because it allowed me to make this beautiful portrait.

Glen Isaac, Executive Director of the North Saskatchewan River Keeper poses for a photo along the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton on October 1, 2012. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

Glen Isaac, Executive Director of the North Saskatchewan River Keeper poses for a photo along the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton on October 1, 2012. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

I didn’t bring a flash with me but the single light at the end of the boat gave enough fill on his face.

The river was smooth as glass which also allowed me to make some pretty photos of Edmonton’s skyline from a different perspective than you normally see.

The Edmonton Skyline at night as seen from a boat on the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton on October 1, 2012. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

The Edmonton Skyline at night as seen from a boat on the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton on October 1, 2012. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

Although it sucked to me moving so slow, I was able to make some pictures that I normally wouldn’t have gotten if we were moving 60 km/h.

We finally just docked the boat and got out and walked to catch a ride as it was faster than moving 3 km/h. Elise blogged about our adventure here.

We took all the information we got from Isaac and created an interactive map where people can submit their own pictures and information about the river.

Edmonton Journal started this map for residents to share their river experiences and favourite places at http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/rivermap/index.html

Edmonton Journal started this map for residents to share their river experiences and favourite places at http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/rivermap/index.html

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