Saturday, April 01, 2006

Build your own Google Photo Map with a GPS-equipped camera

(GPS Camera) + Maps
= Easy Photo Mapping
(link now dead)

Tim Vidas has a great description (link now dead) of how he was able to equip his Ricoh D200 with a GPS unit to easily Google Map pictures he takes with it. He explains that "The tagging of GPS data into the Exif of each picture is a really nice novelty for me". More from his How-To:

The Sales folks as Red Hen informated me that the adapter would come with some sort of mapping software, and when it didn't I called them up and was informed that it's 'not quite ready' and they'd email be about beta testing (evidently the sales teams information didn't quite jive with the software team). So I set out to create my own, and as it turns out, with only a Image::ExifTool, the Google Maps API and a little over a hundred lines of PERL, I have a script that given a directory of images, will create the GMaps htm, the associated XML for the GPS points and extract thumbnails from the pictures themselves. All that's left is to upload everything to a web directory!

On his page he has posted the source code for you to be able to do this yourself, and even makes his custom map pins available to anyone that wants to use them!

A possible way to take this a step further would be to somehow tie this into a PocketPC with a mobile data plan on it that would allow you to wirelessly transfer these photos the second they are taken to a server that automatically Google-maps them with this app running. This way you could snap photos and have them instantly viewable for people looking at your real-time Google Photo-Map. It will only be a matter of time before this is possible. Camera companies like Ricoh or Canon could do this in partnership with mobile carriers, or perhaps mobile phone handset manufacturers could just add the GPS feature to picture phones and mobile carriers could just build a service offering around it? Fun stuff. I can't wait for this all to be a little easier to do.


Anonymous said...

You don't even need a GPS-enabled camera. If you have a GPS and a digital camera, that's all you need. A group at Microsoft Research has a free program that will do what you need. Go here:
and get the WWMX Location Stamper utility. That program reads in your photos and the saved track log from your GPS, and inserts the geotag information into your photos. Basically it says, "Your photo says it was taken at 3:18, and your track log says that at 3:18, you were standing at _____". It does the cross reference, and inserts the data invisibly into your photos just as if they had been taken with a GPS-enabled camera. Very cool. I wish I'd thought of that years ago. I've got tons of vacation photos or hiking photos that I now can't remember where they were taken.

Anonymous said...

I am searching through the internet looking for exactly what you are explaining. Taking an image and instantly tagging it.
This is the project I completed as an experiment to the next version The first objective I have is to drive to New Orleans from Rochester, NY and take images out of both sides of my car snapping an image every 10 seconds with GPS tag. Second, my friends who grew up there are going to co-pilot me through various neighborhoods of NOLA and I will record images every 10 seconds (or so) to record the remaining damage and reconstruction. This I want to create my own map site using some sort of Mapping API that I can design using Flash.
Long and short of it... I am trying to figure out the technology to take the images with GPS tag and then figure out how to present them using mapping API and Flash.
I am aware of the WWMX Location Stamper. It would be cool/efficient to do it all at one time (photo/gps tag). Reason: there will be a few thousand images maybe 10K or 20K!
If I find anything out in my work I will post back. If anyone has any suggestions... please contact me.

Anonymous said...

actually it's a NIKON D200, but i more or less agree with the rest ;-)


Anonymous said...

I also made the map of the subway in Tokyo. It would be greatly appreciated if you could evaluate it.
Tokyo Metro

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have been working on a project to make my photoblog of savannah, GA google mapified.

I would almost think about purchasing a GPS handheld if there was a way to get the same functionality using OS X. If anyone has the same solution I would love to know.

Anonymous said...

mydarndest, have you seen the search engine? They've done what you're talking about for several major US cities.

Not that your project wouldn't be wicked-cool!

Anonymous said...

dude, that's a *Nikon* D200 ;) how dare you!

skierpage said...

Is there a way to capture and represent which way the camera is pointing as well as its location (full 6 degrees of freedom)? A picture OF the Statue of Liberty is very different than a picture FROM the Statue of Liberty, though the camera is in the same place. With direction info you could create VR panoramas.

Very, very cool.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what the other anonymous said. It's a Nikon D200.

I think the confusion was due to the article also mentioning a Ricoh.

Anonymous said...

I work as a developer on a web service called which combines a GPS track log and time from photo EXIF headers, automatically geotags the photos and places them on a map.
An example of such a map can be seen at:

You can register for free and give it a spin. Since we don't use any MS technology it should work fine on OS X. We are currently still having issues with displaying GPS tracks in Safari so I suggest using Firefox.

You could also use TripTracker for your project as well. It will be a good stress test. :)

TripTracker also allows you to manually geotag the photos if you still remember the places.
If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know.

Anonymous said...

I ran into RoboGeo ( which does several interesting things like writing EXIF headers; creating Google maps with pictures, posting directly to Flickr. Looks interesting!

Anonymous said...

If you have a GPS and digital camer and want to geotag your photos like you can with the WWMX thing, you can use GPSPhotoLinker, by Jeffrey J. Early.

Unknown said...

I use for my albums find it's more friendly and much more album look service. :)

Anonymous said...

"Tim Vidas has a great description of how he was able to equip his Ricoh D200 with a GPS unit to easily Google Map pictures he takes with it. He explains that "The tagging of GPS data into the Exif of each picture is a really nice novelty for me". More from his How-To:"


Fileonion said...

Daily Street View challenge, guess the location in 6 tries. Explore clues in your neighborhood. Fun meets geography!