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Geotagging - GPS Coordinates


Geotagging - GPS Coordinates

According to Ancestry magazine one of the latest tools in genealogy is Geotagging - "GPS enables gamily historians to record a very precise location of any physical location, like a grave, old homestead, etc...add the info to your existing research."

Members: 46
Latest Activity: Oct 28, 2020

Discussion Forum

Bluetooth GPS for Nikon

Started by winigar. Last reply by Jen Bawden Mar 12, 2011. 3 Replies

Geotagging Cameras and handheld GPS's

Started by Brian DeGraaf. Last reply by winigar Nov 8, 2010. 4 Replies

Helpful websites

Started by Brian DeGraaf Aug 7, 2009. 0 Replies

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Comment by Lee Martin on January 19, 2015 at 10:06am

I normally just take my GPS and camera to cemeteries to photograph and geotag tombstones of family members.  When I get home I try to find the town cemetery association or something similar to get burial information (row, plot, etc).

Comment by Randall Dickerson on February 25, 2012 at 2:18pm

Since I research ancestors gravesites and ancestral homesteads, I had been looking for an easy method to geo-tag those photos. The software that works best for me is RoboGeo. They do offer a free version for evaluation. I've used it about a week and the program works flawlessly with my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx, Canon EOS T3i Digital SLR and Nikon Coolpix L22 Point-N-Shoot.

One technical tip I would offer to anyone using a digital camera and a handheld GPS: take a photo of you GPS display showing the time in hours, minutes, and seconds. You can review the photo and its timestamp to compare with the GPS time to correct for any time difference between the two when geo-tagging.

Comment by Steve Baldock on November 2, 2010 at 7:33am
If, like me, you use a GPS-enabled smartphone, don't forget to update your GPS data before your tagging session - I believe my early days of photographing gravestones may have used inaccurate GPS coords for his reason. I need to revisit them now!
I would welcome any suggestions for software which can manage/add tag info against my photos 'after the event' - like EasyTag appears to
Comment by bob white on October 15, 2010 at 2:06am
I am using Easytagger for 6 month. It gets satellite signal accurately, I am not whether it within 3m, but every time I went hiking, it worked well. By the way, it supports WAAS as you need. You may have a reference.
Comment by Al (alpobc) on January 10, 2010 at 2:08pm
I have a GPS handheld unit a Garmin GPSmap76CS. It has an averaging feature. The more satellites it can see the more accurate it is, but with averaging, you leave it on for awhile in a set location and it takes continuous readings from the satellites and averages the results to give you a more accurate reading. It can take quite awhile to get really accurate, so have fresh batteries or a long cable to plug into your car etc.
I haven't used it for marking individual gravesites, but did use it for the cemetery. I also use it a work for marking remote buildings. I left it on in the truck one day, set to average and got a result of +/- 0.1M, that's like 4". It usually doesn't take that long to get a location +/- 2M, so long as there are lots of satellites for it to see. Large trees, hills etc will limit the number of satellites. On an open field this device accesses 12 satellites.

Happy tagging:)
Al Parsons
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada
Comment by Brian DeGraaf on August 13, 2009 at 4:37pm
If you're on Twitter, join us at the #geotag Twibe:
Comment by Andreas H. Becherer on August 13, 2009 at 9:00am
I found this article by joining the Geotag Twibe this morning, and thought I would share my experiences.

I recently scanned a wealth of old family photos (the famous shoeboxes), to preserve them, and to have them at hand for documentation and presentation in the family. And since they were all on paper, they had no geotag whatsoever, and most of them didn't even have an inscription in the back.

I use Google Earth and some detective skills to find out what is actually depicted in those photos, and where they were taken. Often I need to ask older relatives for help, when I do not know any of the persons in those photos or don't recognize them. Then I use my own CDWinder to help me with geotagging the Google Earth position into the photos.

And when you put a collection of these geotagged photos together, you can build a nice KMZ presentation for Google Earth, maybe showing the stations along a family's history or timeline. And use Google Earth to fly along these events, and/or share them with the rest of your family.

If you're interested, you can find an example of how I did that with one of my family pictures in the article I just posted about that in my blog
Comment by Kelli Davis Underhill on July 24, 2009 at 9:54am
Here's an article I found online that may be helpful:

Geotag your digital photos
Explore your image collection in new ways with geotagging software
by Ben Long,

Your digital camera is a diligent archivist. Each time it captures an image, it records the time the photo was taken as well as the settings that were used—details you can use later to help track down the photo in your collection. For most of us, though, it’s easier to remember where we took a picture than to remember when. However, most digital cameras don’t possess this sort of location awareness. Two exceptions include the $500 Nikon Coolpix P6000 and the iPhone 3G (or the original iPhone with the 2.0 software update). For photos taken with other cameras, you can easily embed the coordinates after the fact through a process called geotagging.

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PMA: Jobo announces GPS digital camera add-on 21013753 Review: iPhoto ’09 21591235 PhotoTrackr GPS device now Mac-compatible 20996569 Geotag your photos on-the-go 23604966 Review: MacGPSPro 8.3 21447277 Geotagalog logs GPS coordinates for iPhoto's Places 23362214 Geotagged images provide you with a new way of sorting and organizing your photos. For example, you can search for pictures shot in a particular locale or create an interactive map of your latest vacation showing not only where you went, but also images from points along the route.

But before you can take advantage of any of these features, you have to tag your images with geographic information. Fortunately, there’s now a wide variety of Mac tools that can get the job done.

Adding Geotags
When you geotag an image, you’re simply storing latitude and longitude coordinates for that image in the file’s metadata. This means you’ll first need to get those coordinates.

Using Google Earth One of the easiest ways to do this is with Google Earth (), Google’s free, three-dimensional, navigable model of the globe. Simply download the software, use the search and navigation tools to locate the destination of your photo, then add a placemark (Add: Placemark) to get exact coordinates.

You’ll also need a program that can insert those coordinates into your files. While there are lots of programs that do this, I prefer Stanton Software’s free Geotagger which works in conjunction with Google Earth. Once you’ve pinpointed a location in Google Earth, drag the photos you want to tag with those coordinates onto the Geotagger application icon. Geotagger will automatically launch, retrieve the latitude and longitude from the location you chose in Google, and embed it in the metadata of your images.

Ovolab's Geophoto lets you import images from iPhoto and use a map interface to pin them to specific locations.
From iPhoto If you’re an iPhoto user, you’ll need to geotag your images with Geotagger before you import them into iPhoto. For photos already in your iPhoto library, you can add geotagging data with the help of Ovolab’s $25 Geophoto. Like Google Earth, Geophoto presents you with an interactive globe. Click on the Media button to import images from your iPhoto or Aperture library, and then drag them onto the map to tag them with specific locations (see “Geophoto”). The globe view doesn’t get as close to a location as Google Earth does; however, you can use the small Google Map panel on the left to zoom in closer and locate specific positions—even street-level addresses.

Once you’ve placed your images, select Item: Update Original With Location Information to add the GPS data to the original photos in your iPhoto library. This data stays with the newly updated files even if you later export the photos to use elsewhere. Geophoto also works as a viewing program; you can see your images scattered about the globe or perform geography-based searches.

Viewing and Sharing Geotagged Images
Once you’ve gone to the trouble of geotagging your images, there are a lot of ways to exploit the location data now embedded inside them. If you’re running Mac OS X 10.5, for example, you can quickly map any geotagged photo with the help of Preview. Simply open the image in Preview (iPhoto users must first export the image) and then select Tools: Inspector. If the image has been geotagged, you’ll find a GPS tab within the Inspector window’s More Info pane. Click on the Locate button, and Preview will open your Web browser and show you that location using Google Maps.

But why limit the enjoyment to just yourself? With very little effort, you can create custom maps and displays of your photo-studded trip and share them with others.

From iPhoto If you’re an iPhoto user, try Stanton Software’s free iPhoto plug-in iPhotoToGoogleEarth, which will export a KMZ file of your geotagged images. KMZ files are Google Earth data files that contain location data, images, and more. After installing iPhotoToGoogleEarth, you simply select the geotagged images that you want to see in Google Earth, and then choose iPhotoToGoogleEarth from iPhoto’s Export dialog box. Enter a name that you’d like to appear on the images in Google Earth and then click on Export.

Next, name the KMZ file, and then select a destination on your hard drive. Double-click on the resulting file to open it in Google Earth. You should see a photo icon on the planet at each location with which your images were tagged. Double click on the photo icon to view a larger version. To share your trip with others, simply send them the resulting KMZ file via e-mail (they’ll need to have Google Earth installed). When they open it up, they’ll see your images pinned to their correct locations.

Once you've created a KMZ file, anyone with Google Earth can open it and see your images pinned to their correct locations.
From the Finder If you’re not an iPhoto user and still want to see your geotagged images in Google Earth, use Houdah Software’s HoudahGeo, which automatically pins your images to their correct locations. At [euro]25, HoudahGeo is a little pricey. But if you have a GPS device, the program can also pull a log file from it and use that to tag your images. And like iPhotoToGoogleEarth, the program will export a KMZ file that you can share with others.

From Flickr The popular photo-sharing site Flickr also fully supports location metadata, and lets you view your images on a map or search for images tagged with particular locations. To activate this feature, log in, select You: Your Account from the top of the page, and then select the Privacy & Permissions tab. Click on the Edit button next to the Import EXIF Location Data option and follow the directions.

Now, when you import geotagged images, you can use the Map tab to see the photos displayed in their proper locations. Want to see others’ photos? Choose Explore: World Map to browse for images by location as well as other tags.

By the way, Flickr includes its own geotagging interface. However, once you’ve done this, you can’t easily get your tagged data out and apply it to your original image files—which means you can’t use it with other applications. It’s better to geotag your images before uploading them to Flickr.

Geotagging Hardware
Although software solutions let you geotag your images once you get home, they also require a lot of work. If you’re serious about geotagging, you may want to consider investing in a device that can automate the process. f you already have a GPS unit, you can use HoudahGeo to synchronize route information with your photos. If you don’t have a GPS unit, a couple of devices will do something similar:

The PhotoFinder keeps track of where you've been and then updates your photos for you.ATP PhotoFinder This $90 device is powered by two AAA batteries for eight hours of use. You simply turn on the Photo Finder and wait for it to lock on the GPS signal. Then make sure your digital camera’s clock matches the time displayed on the PhotoFinder and go about your way. The PhotoFinder records a log of everywhere you go.

When you’re done shooting, insert your camera’s SD card (or plug an external card reader) into the PhotoFinder and it will match the time of each image to your recorded location, and add latitude and longitude to your images automatically (I’ve found that, depending on its view of the sky, it can be off by as much as 100 yards). Currently, the PhotoFinder only works with JPEG files.

Gisteq PhotoTrackr The $100 PhotoTrackr is slightly smaller than the PhotoFinder and requires a single AA battery for up to three weeks of use. Like the PhotoFinder, the PhotoTrackr maintains a log of your locations, but it doesn’t have a media slot. Instead, you use the included software to add the data to your images. However, in my tests it’s location data was a little more accurate than the PhotoFinder—though neither device was perfectly accurate.
Comment by Kelli Davis Underhill on July 24, 2009 at 9:48am
As I think back to all of the cemeteries and old homesteads, etc. that I have visited in the past it makes me wish this technology was available then. Perhaps we could later expand to include volunteers who will go and geotag a gravesite, etc in their area. This would save so much time and information. It's mindboggling when you think of all the ways you can apply this technology for future generations. I know, I'll geotag where I sit and do most of my online research...
Comment by Brian DeGraaf on July 21, 2009 at 6:58pm
So glad you started this group, Kelli. I will be looking to buy a GPS receiver and camera a few months in the future. A must for me while shopping for a new GPS receiver is one that supports WAAS for the best accuracy. The accuracy is reported to be <3 meters. This will be helpful in geotagging grave-site locations.

I'm interested in combining geotags + genealogy + pictures + blogging.

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