Originally, I only planned one post on Photo GeoTagging. After researching, playing around with different techniques and sitting down to write, I realized that the topic involved more than I originally thought (and was even more cool than I originally thought). So this, the third post in the series, is about how to display your photos once you GeoTag them. (See GeoTagging Your Photos and Using ExifTool to GeoTag Your Photos for the first two posts on this entry.)
Flickr and Google Maps (using Picasa) are the two most popular, free, public tools available for automatically mapping geotagged photos. I tagged a photo from a recent trip to Moab, Utah and uploaded it to both sites. The rest of this posts outlines my findings (from a ‘new’ user’s standpoint) on how each worked.
The following are the items I compared during the evaluation and which I preferred.
PicasaWeb – Google Maps
From a beginner’s standpoint, PicasaWeb was much easier to use. It’s interface (and lack of features) makes it more approachable and mapping is much more simple. It also displayed a thumbnail of the photo directly on the map and displayed a small preview of it when the thumbnail was clicked. To top it all off, you can easily click on and view the location in Google Earth, which allows you to view the scenery all over again – very cool!
Unexpectadely, PicasaWeb did a poorer job of accurately placing the photo. The displayed coordinates didn’t match those tagged to the photo. They were close (within a few hundred yards), but as this is powered by GoogleMaps (the best mapping tool on the web, in my opinion), I was disappointed that it wasn’t 100% accurate. Disclaimer: I didn’t spend much time trying to troubleshoot to see why it didn’t read it properly – I was trying to see how well it worked without fiddling around.
Flickr – Yahoo Maps
Unlike PicasaWeb, Flickr’s mapping accuracy was spot on. It also provides MANY more features than PicasaWeb for organizing and sharing the photos outside the map, which is appealing to many. Flickr is the industry standard for photo sharing, which makes this option fairly attractive. I also liked the feature that allows you to e-mail your organized sets to others directly. You can always copy/paste the link, but this removes one additional step, especially for new users.
Flickr’s dispaly of the photos on the map was one of its major downfalls. While PicasaWeb displays a nice thumbnail and preview when clicked, Flickr decided to implement a small dot to indicate the presence of the picture. When the dot is clicked, a small preview of the photo is shown in the bottom left corner of the map, far away from the dot. I found that fairly inconvenient.
Which I Will Use
The comparison chart above makes the comparison look fairly equal, and honestly, it was pretty close.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to share your geotagged photos and don’t have much use for other features, I would recommend PicasaWeb. It was easier to use and displays the photos on the map in a more appealing way.
If you are looking for more features to manage your photos in other ways, though, Flickr is the industry standard. It provides many more features and a much larger community of photos.