Web standard geotag icon
Image by bmckenzie via Flickr

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of geotagging photos, but frustrated by some of the issues around the practice. Unless you use a smartphone as a camera, or have something like an EyeFi, it’s a chore to tag photos in this way, and a chore that not many take the time to do it seems. Those folks that have it automated thanks to tools like I just mentioned often fall prey to the opposite problem… overtagging. If you tag a picture of that spot on your jeans, is it really smart to add a geotag for it, forever locking it in to that location geographically within sites like Flickr? There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find pictures for a location, let’s say Egypt, and having to wade through dozens of pictures of somebody’s toothbrush.

That being said, Geotagging isn’t going away, it’s only becoming more prominent. Need proof? Take a look at what Erik Fischer has manged to do. By using a few scripts, he took the millions of geotagged photos within Flickr and used the metadata to map out 50 major cities.

* Motion recorded by geotagging photographers.
* Taking all timestamps and location stamps at face value.
* Black is walking (less than 7mph)
* Red is bicycling or equivalent speed (less than 19mph)
* Blue is motor vehicles on normal roads (less than 43mph)
* Green is freeways or rapid transit.

Fascinating. Not only that so many photos are being geotagged, but that we are even able to track them based on the speed the person was moving when the photo was taken! Pretty impressive. Oh, and by the way, Chicago rates #11 on the list.

Quick informal survey: Do you geotag your photos? And if so, do you keep the setting on for ALL your photos? Or are you selective about which you tag?

Disclaimer: I’m participating in a local Chicago contest to raise awareness of first amendment issues. I’ve included the #1amend hashtag and URL to the original article in the title, so they will be included when people retweet this blog entry. Per the terms of the contest, the two people who get the most retweets using that hashtag will win a 16GB WiFi iPad. Since I already have an iPad, if I win the contest I pledge to give it away to an educator who reads this blog (details TBD). So if you enjoyed this article, help me out by clicking the Tweet button at the top!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]