GeoTagging Revisited

I’ve found a lot of uses for my Bluetooth GPS receiver in the past. Beginning with a Python project to track network coverage and display it in Google Earth, GeoTagging became the next logical thing to look at and it’s clearly going to be a cool camera phone application once the GPS receivers are built in and geotagging is tightly integrated into the camera experience.

While I often use GPS these days together with Nokia Maps (see here and here) I haven’t used GeoTagging a lot when taking pictures for the simple reason that it wasn’t tightly integrated into my N70 and N93 and I found it not practicable to do an extra manual step after taking a picture to geotag it. Revisiting the topic a year later it looks like this important issue has now been fixed as well.

Shozu’s GPS GeoTagging

Encouraged by one of the comments left in a previous post I updated Shozu (a program to upload pictures from a camera phone to Flickr and other sites) as the latest version for my N93 supports external GPS receivers for automatic geotagging of pictures. A guide to get started from scratch can be found at AvecMobile.

After activating the GPS option in Shozu, it now automatically contacts my Bluetooth GPS receiver after taking a picture. While doing this, Shozu runs transparently in the background. It also works when having the Shozu query option disabled which asks if the picture just taken should be uploaded to Flickr.

Once the GPS receiver has a fix, the current position is saved in three tags together with the picture. When uploading such a geotagged picture to Flickr, the coordinates are detected and can then be used on the Flickr page to automatically show the location the picture was taken at in Yahoo Maps. If you prefer Google Earth for visualization, copy the coordinates from the lower right part of the Yahoo Maps splash screen and paste them into the "Location Box" of Google Earth. Works perfectly! Here’s a link to the one of my pictures that have been automatically geotagged by the phone. The link to the map can be found among the "additional information" on the right side of the Flickr page.

To see what happens when I don’t have my GPS receiver with me when taking a picture I switched it off and took another picture. Shozu then tries to contact the receiver via Bluetooth twice over a time of maybe 60 seconds before giving up. That’s good in case you forget to switch on the receiver before taking the picture.

Room for improvements

Still there are two areas of improvement: First, Shozu gives up too quickly when the GPS receiver can’t get an immediate fix. If it takes longer than about 45 seconds to get a fix, which happens especially after the GPS receiver was switched off for some time, Shozu disconnects from the GPS device and doesn’t save geotaggs. Also, Shozu adds the GPS co-ordinates in it’s own database, which works for Flickr, but it does not seem to include them in the EXIF information of the images. I checked by using Windows XP’s file explorer, Exifer, Exif Pilot and Nokia’s Lifeblog, but non of them shows any GPS information.

Sony’s GPS Stick

A lot of people still prefer to take digital camera with them which surely still has it’s advantages. For geotagging such pictures as well Sony’s GPS stick might come in handy. Completely autonomous it records the user’s location during the day and a software for the PC then combines the location information with the pictures once downloaded to the PC. I like the idea but I have to admit it wouldn’t work for me as I’ve so become used to uploading pictures to Flickr directly from the camera phone. For me it has the advantage that I can do it right away when I take the picture or shortly afterwards and not when I come back home in the evening and am already tired.

6 thoughts on “GeoTagging Revisited”

  1. If I understand correctly the Sony GPS-CS1 does have no Bluetooth support at all, does it?
    In my search for a GPS device that supports both, Bluetooth as well as waypoint recording to allow geotagging of images, I came across the Wintec WBT-201. The WBT-201 should support the bluetooth connection to the mobile phone whilst at the same time can record 130.000 waypoints for images taken with the digital camera.
    That device is certainly on my wishlist and I just need a little impuls from someone who has actually used it and confirms that it works.

  2. I checked out the Shozu GPS data as well. As you said, it looks like Shozu doesn’t write the GPS coordinates into the EXIF data. In order to be compatible with other mapping services, it should.

  3. Hi Martin,
    Very nice overview page you got. I just want to let you know, that IPTC Photo metadata (IPTC White Paper here: seems promising to enhancing and qualifying photos in the future. Also that tools are emerging to edit (whats editable) meta data. Here’s xnView for example that fully supports IPTC (& Exif too)


  4. Martin, after I posted my last comment, more related material has come to my attention, that may have your interest.
    M$ has finaly found some interest in supporting IPTC !
    Using their free addon tool – PhotoInfo – its possible to add tags and values to other IPTC fields.
    Tool can be downloaded here:

    But one need to be aware of a few couple of
    things, prior to install it:
    – You have to be on Windows XP SP2 or later (that is Windows Vista)
    – You have to download (free too) Microsoft’s Windows Imaging Component (WIC)
    prior to PhotoInfo
    – Microsoft PhotoInfo is not fully compliant to the IPTC standard (according to
    its FAQ:

    They have decided to re-use ‘older’ metadata fields for compatibility reasons to other existing software :
    – Object Name (IPTC) maps to Title (MS)
    – Byline (IPTC) maps to Author (MS)
    – Caption (IPTC) maps to Description (MS)
    – Writer/Editor (IPTC) maps to Description Writer (MS)
    – Contact (IPTC) maps to URL (MS)
    That’s also why there’s some odd dialog questions such as ‘Append
    value to existing value’ at some places.
    And the coolest thing, of course, is that it can manipulate (batches)ie. selections in ‘one go’ !
    For Printing purposes – that is printing of Metadata values (not the
    pictures), I still believe xnView is the best (see my previous comment).
    And to the filesystem (NTFS), Microsoft still need to do better viewing capabilities using the Windows Explorer – not all IPTC fields can be selected as Columns 🙁

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  6. hi, it is good to read such articles like yours. Check out It is an easy to handle website, that also enables geotagging for the most nokia mobile phones. So geotag your way of life
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