Geo-locating Photos Using Any Camera With an SD Card

Eye Fi cardDavid Pogue in today’s NYTimes writes about Eye-Fi Explore, which geo-locates photos as they are taken.  It uses the same Skyhook technology as the iPhone.  Skyhook employees went out with a GPS device and a wifi search device, and geo-located every wifi base station they could find.  The Eye-Fi Explore correlates the area wifi signals with your photo and, voila, geo-locates your photo — within 100 feet, Pogue says.

Of course, this is only going to work where there are wifi signals around — which means it’ll work best in cities, and not at all out in the middle of nowhere.

And only cameras with SD cards.  My Canon dSLR uses CD cards, though the next generation of the same camera uses SD cards.

But — interesting idea.  I have good GPS on my Nokia n95, but would have to use an external GPS on my dSLR, which I’m never going to do.

What remains to be seen is what people want geo-locations for.  My individual uses so far:

  • Remembering where I found that good place I want to revisit, someplace away from home but where I plan to return: the good hotel, the good display of wildflowers, and so forth.  Of course, I would want access when I’m on the road, and not from my laptop.
  • Making a map of my itinerary on some trip.  I now have a pile of photos from various places I’ve been and never intend to return, but for which I do want to know whether that was the temple in Kyoto or Nagano.
  • Showing someone else where something is, what an area is like — e.g., the friend who’s going to Ireland for whom I wanted to be able to show photos of various areas, as she planned her trip.

Collectively, this technology could be used with Flickr, Google Maps, etc to collate images. When I was considering a trip to western China, I looked for photos on Flickr, fruitlessly.  The tags on the images that were there weren’t specific enough.

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