If you’ve got a DSLR or a point-n-shoot camera that does not do geotagging automatically, and you have an iPhone, then you need to know about two apps in the iTunes store that will turn your iPhone into a Geotagging gadget for your photos.
Geotagging is a simple concept: Photos are stored with the location where they were taken. It gives you the ability to map out your trips after the fact, remember where you were, and upload your photos to Google Earth and other cloud services so that other people can see what you saw everywhere around the world. Of course you want to be careful not to Geotag photos around your house and then upload them to online services like facebook because it will reveal where you live. This is why I don’t necessarily like cameras that automatically Geotag all photos.
Both are good and differ only in the method they use to transfer geotagging information from the phone to your computer. With both, you go through these simple steps:
- Sync your camera’s time to your phone time
- Create a “trip” (shooting session)
- Let the app run in the background while you take pictures all day
- Export your GPS logging data
- Run the app’s desktop Geotagging application
- Import your photos into iPhoto, Picassa, or whatever tool you use to manage photos.
The only difference between the two is the way they export data from the iPhone app:
With GeotagPhoto, you export your trips up to their website, and their Java-based desktop app downloads that info to tag your photos. This requires an active network connection when you import, but it’s simple and it works well. You have to go through a one-time “pairing” of your iPhone app to your computer via an emailed link. Of course there will come a day with this service stops working, and then the app won’t work. GeotagPhoto is $3.99.
With gps4cam, when you export it generates a QR (2D) barcode containing all your GPS data on your phone screen, and you take a photo of the screen on the same memory card. When you run the import app, it scans all your photos and finds the QR codes from amongst them, extracts the GPS log data, and then updates the photos that aren’t QR codes. Extremely clever, equally easy, and no network connection required. The only issue I found with it is my zoom telephoto has to be about 5′ away from my phone to achieve focus on the QR code (so I change the lens first).
These two apps are amazing examples of how smartphones and apps are replacing various gadgets that you would either go without or spend hundreds of dollars on.