Tuesday, April 29, 2014

GPS Logging of your photos.

The following is a real GPS location track of where I was on February 20th, 2014. It looks like I was all over the place. On my GPS track, I can tell exactly where I was and at what time. This is an invaluable tool to use when taking photos as you will know exactly where you were when you took a specific photo. All you need to do is to compare the timestamp on your photo to the map for that day and you will know precisely where you took the photo. The best thing - location tracking is part of Google Maps and it's free. It's included in your Android phone. All you have to do is to activate it.
Going a little further, if you take a photo with your Android phone then the GPS coordinates are already locked into the image. Take the following image as an example - I took it somewhere when I went to Macon, Georgia. I don't know where I took it so I head over to Picasaweb to see where I took it.
Picasaweb looks at the GPS coordinates and provides me with a map, pinpointing the location.
Going a little further into the Google maps thing and selecting street view pulls up a very nice image of the location.
Your Android phone is full of useful surprises like this. Now I must admit that the photo of the tower was one I took with my phone but I could equally well have taken it with a camera and simply compared the time stamps on my GPS track with the time stamps on my photos and found the location that way.

There are, of course, alternate ways of tracking where you take your photos. The first is by writing everything down on a notepad. This is relatively inexpensive but works only when you know where you are. Trekking across wilderness might be problematic when there's no real landscape features to identify the location and no roads. Similarly in a wilderness, a mobile phone signal won't work and even a phone with GPS logging might not be able to record where you are. This is where the next method comes in - a notepad combined with a GPS locator.
This is an elderly Garmin e-Tex. It works though it takes about two minutes to lock onto a signal and the batteries last only a few hours in it. It's something to use sparingly. There are small GPS logger units available which record your location for up to 90 days on a set of batteries. These tend to be used a lot by Private Investigators who tape them to the inside of the fender of a car and retrieve them a few weeks later to provide their client with an absolute record of where that vehicle went, where it stopped and how long for for the entire period. Those things are undetectable without a thorough visual inspection. They are, however, very useful for travelling photographers and can simply be carried in a pocket.

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