Photo Georeferencing

Modern GPS technology, digital cameras, and recent free offerings by Google have opened up an exciting new possibility in photography - that of photo "georeferencing" and mapping.  Some new cameras even have a GPS receiver built-in.   And Adobe Lightroom 4 now offers a map view which searches for georeferenced photos in one's database, and displays them on a view of Google "Earth".

it is possible to georeference one's photos without special hardware through the use of ingenious, yet affordable, software.   One of several programs available is "RoboGEO".   It makes use of the time and date stamp in a digital photo's EXIF data, and the time and date stamp on each point in a GPS unit's track log, to match the two and plot the resulting track and any associated photos in either Google Earth or on a web page using Google Maps.

It is also possible to automatically georeference your photos/videos/sound clips through a free on-line web-based utility called "GPS Visualiser".

My GPS unit is a Garmin "GPSMAP 60Cx" unit, and is capable of transmitting data to and from a pc through a fast USB port.   My digital cameras are a Nikon 1, a Nikon D200, and a Nikon D70, but most, if not all, digital cameras will produce photos with time-stamps that can be georeferenced.

Here is an example:

First ski of the season in Gatineau Park in the province of Quebec, just north of Ottawa.

(Along the Parkway and up to the top of Booth Hill and back).

Using Google Maps:

    Click on "First ski - Nov 2007".   You should see something like this:

Choose the "Satellite" view as the maps in this area are not very detailed.

Click on the upside-down "teardrops" to view a thumbnail photo at that location.   Click on the small thumbnail for a larger view.

Some of the photos are hidden behind others - to spread them out, zoom in on the map to the maximum possible setting.   The map itself may disappear, but this is fine since you can always zoom out to display it again.   Alternatively, you can select a photo by title from the drop-down menu, as in the above image.

Using Google Earth:

    Download THIS FILE (4.6 Mb in size), unzip the jpegs and ".kml" file into a common folder, and open the ".kml" file in Google Earth by double-clicking on it, or opening from the "File" menu in Google Earth.   Try turning on "Layers / Terrain" and tilt the image to view the 3D effect.   Try "flying" around the mountain to view the track from different viewpoints.  Note that you can use your mouse like a joystick by holding down the "scroll" wheel and moving the mouse.

(note, you need a working copy of "Google Earth" on your pc, and the ability to download a large file)


Posted to Public GPS "trails" Site:

    Here is the same example as posted to "Everytrail", a public site dedicated to hosting your GPS tracks, with georeferenced photos and/or videos, complete with sound if available, and displaying them in Google Maps:

First ski of the season in Gatineau Park at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

Visit HERE for georeferenced photos from several other hiking and skiing trips.

Click HERE for georeferenced photos from our trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico in 2007.

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