Some Thoughts on Mobile GeoTagging

Experimenting with my newly acquired Bluetooth GPS receiver, Python and S60 phone to come up with a tracking and network measurement software, some further thoughts have sprung up about what could be done with the location data. Once the GPS device is embedded in the phone it’s easy to store the exact location as part of the ‘exif’ data of pictures taken with the built in camera. It’s already got a name: GeoTagging.  Here are some ideas what I would like to do with it:

Automatically geotag my pictures I upload to Flickr from the mobile phone via Shozu: Flickr could then be enhanced to detect the geo location in the picture and offer a link directly below a picture to a mapping site such as Google Maps / Google Earth or the Yahoo equivalent. The user clicks on the link and a map of the location where the picture was taken pops up. The photo site could also go through its database to see if other users have taken pictures in the surroundings and show provide a link on the map to those pictures.

Enrich my private picture archive with location information: How about adding some geo functionality in Nokia’s Lifeblog!? The software could detect the geoinformation in a picture and open up my locally installed Google Earth and show me the location. Beyond that the user could create ‘location sets’ of let’s say all pictures taken during a vacation or a trip. Lifeblog could then open Google Earth to show which route I was taken and provide a link back to my pictures at every location a picture was taken.

Enhanced eMail program that detects geotags in pictures: Let’s say I want to show a friend where I am. So I take a picture which has an embedded geotag and use my mobile phone’s eMail client to send the picture. When he receives the picture the eMail program or external picture viewer should detect the geotag and again offer me a link to either my locally installed mapping software (e.g. Google Earth) or a web link to an online service to see where the picture was taken.

The beauty of these solutions is the ease of use for both creator and consumer of the picture. No user interaction is required to geotag the picture as the phone automatically puts the GPS coordinates into the picture. Once programs and websites support geotags there’s also no complicated user interaction required to use the information. Just click on a link or a button and ‘voila’, a map pops up to bring you closer to the image.

So Yahoo, Flicker, Shozu, Nokia and all others, it’s time for some products 🙂

4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Mobile GeoTagging”

  1. Might come earlier than excpected…I have already made experiment to add Geolocation informations when uploading to flickr. No need to change the exif file, just add the geo:lat and geo:lon tag . There is already plenty of tools/extension of flicker that use this, even by adding some geotagging in your flicker page, opening google map at the exact location, etc….


  2. You can do all of this today on the web (and soon with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones) with Loki, a free product from Skyhook Wireless.

  3. what i would like from geotagging is this….Bringing the internet into the physical world, I walk with my gps phone down a street and as i pass a starbucks/bar/resteraunt my phone notifiesm me of the web page of the company at that location but more importantly geoBlog tags that have been left by people who have passed that same place some time before me (what do they REALLY sya Starbucks/bar/resteraunt is like?). It would be like bringing wikkis and blogs into the physical world and i would know if i am treading the path of fellow bloggers…

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