Posts Tagged ‘MotionX GPS’

Better Geotagging, revisited

May 2, 2011


In a recent blog post, I shared a simple tech tip for better geotags in iPhone photographs: Launch the Maps app and verify your location BEFORE taking pictures with the Camera app. I should follow my advice! Huh? Look at the Flickr Map (shown above) of my photo gallery, “April showers bring May flowers.” All of the photos in the gallery should be located on three streets in Hollin Hills (listed in chronological order along my photowalk): Elba Road; Nordok Place; and Mason Hill Drive. As you can see by looking at the map, there are several outliers that are not located (geotagged) correctly. Question is, what caused the photos to be geotagged incorrectly?

Apple iPhone is the best all-in-one device for geotagging photographs, as I explained in “The ABCs of A-GPS.” iPhone “Location Services,” as good as it is, can be surprisingly inaccurate after an iPhone has been either in sleep mode or powered-off. It was raining lightly during most of my photowalk through Hollin Hills on Sunday: When I stopped to take photos, I was in a rush to prevent water damage to my iPhone and did not use the Maps app to verify my location before shooting pictures; my iPhone was in sleep mode between stops along the photowalk. Net results: My iPhone wasn’t damaged (that’s good news); several photos were geotagged incorrectly (that’s bad news). Perhaps I could have avoided the problem by running a GPS-tracking app in the background, such as MotionX GPS. Point is, you can’t assume an iPhone will correctly geolocate every photograph you take with its built-in camera, but you can get better results by using the Maps app to get an accurate position fix before taking photos.

Finally, a quick word about the Flickr photo sharing service. Is it just me, or is the Flickr user interface often less than intuitive? I was sure I set up my Flickr account to enable sharing photo location information. Turns out I was wrong. I discovered the solution after troubleshooting the problem. Sign in to Flickr. Click on the hyperlink labeled, “Your account.” See the section entitled, “Defaults for new uploads”; for the setting, “Import EXIF location data,” select “Yes.”

Combined GPS Track & Photo Gallery for Display in Google Earth

March 11, 2011


As promised in my last post, Photowalking Hollin Hills, here are step-by-step instructions describing the workflow for creating a KMZ file that features a GPS track and gallery of geotagged photos, suitable for display in Google Earth.

  1. Save- and export a track (GPX file) from a GPS device, such as MotionX GPS for Apple iPhone.
  2. Create a gallery of geotagged photos using Picasa for Windows.
  3. From the menu bar in Picasa, select Tools/Geotag/Export to Google Earth File; save the resulting KMZ file to a known location. (Editor’s Note: This option is not available in Picasa for Mac OS X.)
  4. Open the KMZ file of geotagged photos in Google Earth.
  5. Open the GPX file (GPS track) in Google Earth; drag the GPX file into the KMZ folder of geotagged photos.
  6. Select the KMZ folder (containing both the GPX track and geotagged photos). From the menu bar in Google Earth, select Save/Save Place As…; create a name for the new KMZ file and save to a known location.

A sample KMZ file (Picasa_23Feb2011.kmz) is shown above.

Photowalking Hollin Hills

March 9, 2011


I went for a short photowalk in the communities of Hollin Hills, Milway Meadows, and Mount Vernon Square in order to field test the latest update of the MotionX GPS app for Apple iPhone. I hoped to be able to record a GPS track with embedded geotagged photos, suitable for display using Google Earth. Well, two out of three ain’t bad, right? As it turns out, I was able to use Google Earth to combine the GPX track exported from MotionX GPS with a Picasa Web Album of the photos taken by MotionX GPS’s in-app camera. You can see the result by clicking on the following file: Picasa_23Feb2011.kmz. (Editor’s Note: Google Earth must be installed on your computer.) Details in a follow-up post regarding how I did it. By the way, Photo 6 of 6 shows holes drilled by sapsuckers in the trunk of a Blue Atlas Cedar.

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