I upped my nerd rating this weekend by hiking the Billy Goat Trail with a GPS attached to my wrist. It’s a trail just a few miles from DC, so I wasn’t worried about getting lost. I just wanted the exact location of the pictures I took, so that they could be mapped accurately.
You can see the results on this map of the Great Falls area. The two pictures toward the bottom and the cluster of five on the left are from this trip. With more pictures, you could compile a visual exploration of the trail. (The cluster of five pictures off to the right are pictures from a previous hiking trip, pre-GPS.)
Geotagging the way I did this is a tedious process:
- You take a picture of the GPS unit.
- You correlate that picture with the picture of the subject (this can be done by timestamp).
- After uploading the picture, you manually enter the data.
Compare this with date and time information. The vast majority of digital cameras automatically include the time a picture was taken in the metadata attached to an image. That makes it easy to flip through photos in a calendar view.
With the rapidly falling price and shrinking size of GPS chips, I’d like to see camera manufacturers embed a GPS chip in the camera and have the camera automatically record the location in the image file.
(If you’re laughing at the slow pace on the display, you should know that the Billy Goat Trail is mostly rock scrambles.)