First Geotaggings

While on The Mountain this weekend, I schlepped my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx with me wherever I drove. My intent was to take a bunch of images at Prentice Cooper, and figure out how to get them tagged from the tracks on the GPS. I played with it some while I was on The Mountain, saved my tracks, and then came home.

However, there was an important fact I wasn’t aware of. When you save a track on the Garmin, the timestamps disappear, making the data virtually useless for geotagging!! Fortunately, my MacBook Pro had one of the tracks I used while on The Mountain, so not all was lost. However, I got trapped by another anomaly.

I tried to set my camera to the same time as the GPS. Of course, the GPS time was perfect, but the camera time needed some adjustment, so I set it against a known good time source. What I neglected to do was check the timezones for the two devices. My camera was still on Central Time, but my GPS was on Mountain Time (probably from the Big Drive last year). And my geotagging software wanted to use the system time (Central Time) to line everything up. Combine all that, and you have photos that didn’t tag in the right place, and some images that had no data whatsoever.

Now that I have the times lined up, and using the track from my MBP, I now have some images geotagged correctly. Pretty cool stuff. I didn’t know it, but if you look at an image in Preview on the Mac, you can get additional data about it, some of which is the GPS data. From there, you get a “Where’s Waldo” look at the globe to see where the photo is from, and a button to send you to Google Maps to see the detailed location. That’s pretty cool.

I can tell there’s some goodness in the data from the geotagging effort that I haven’t yet begun to tap. I kinda feel like I’m getting to the party late on this technology, but I think I’m becoming a quick study.

So which software am I using? Right now, GPSPhotoLinker seems to be getting me the most mileage, but I suspect HoudahGeo will buy me more usefulness for images for which I have no data. The batch processing from GPSPhotoLinker is slick, and really hums right along. HoudahGeo is integrated with GoogleEarth, and I suspect that’ll make it pretty easy to tag the old trips.

Watch for more fun and games as I figure out how to exploit this new technology! (Well, new to me, anyway.)