Existing Technology

Since I first purchased my GPS many different services have appeared that support GeoTagging of some form and it is still growing. I think that people are quickly realizing how much cooler it is to look at your vacation photos embedded in a map than a grid of photos on a web page.

World Wide Media Exchange. This is the site that started it all for me. It is a research project from Microsoft to not only help GeoTag Photos (with or without a GPS) but also an online database where people can upload all their photos and view all the photos of everyone from around the world that is using their service. The client is proprietary, though they do have a minimally functional web interface, difficult to navigate (compared to Google Maps), and a bit slow. It hasn’t been changed much since I first downloaded the tools, and I never had much interest in using their client viewer or uploading any photos. I do, however, still use their tools for downloading the track logs from my GPS (WWMX GPS Track Download) and GeoTagging photos (WWMX Location Stamper).

Another form of service that has popped up is the merging of maps with photo sharing services like Flickr and Zoto to name two.

Flickr has made this easy by exposing an interface that external web sites can use to access Flickr photos and retrieve their tags. It is in the tags that many people use to mark the locations of the photos, more than just the GPS data in the EXIF headers. Things like city, state or zip code. Other developers have taken advantage of this and created sites that can extract the tags and map them. Sites like Mappr and Flickrmap.

Zoto takes a slightly different approach and builds in Google Maps support directly into their site. This is pretty close to what I want, and in fact, when I first saw this site I almost stopped all work of my own and signed up. $24.95 a year for their Pro account is cheaper than the time I have spent developing my own Google Map. But what would be the fun in that… and it doesn’t show GPS track logs.

Picasa 2.5 has recently added geotagging support. Woot! It is still very basic in that it understands geotags and allows you to add tag information through Google Maps, but it is a start and in a tool that I use a lot.