Automatically Map Your Geotagged Photos

GeoTagging, Landscape, Reviews Add comments

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.


PicasaWeb – Google Maps (Click for larger view)

Flickr – Yahoo Maps (Click for larger view)

The following are the items I compared during the evaluation and which I preferred.

Item Preferred Tool

PicasaWeb – Google Maps

Click here to view my mapped photo in PicasaWeb.

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

Click here to view my mapped photo in Flickr.

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.

As GeoTagging is only part of my photo sharing/management, I chose Flickr. For more specific on how to upload and display images, you can visit their sites directly at Flickr or PicasaWeb.

3 Responses to “Automatically Map Your Geotagged Photos”

  1. maphan Says:

    I use simple and free photo geotagging software GPSed Photo Take’n'Pin ( http://photo.gpsed.com ). In general GPSed.com service ( http://gpsed.com ) allows to record GPS logs just from mobile device (!), organize archive of GPS logs in Google Maps based web-service and add geotagging information to my photos automatically (according to GPS logs). I don’t need to remember any more where my photos were taken.

  2. breyman Says:

    Interesting resource for using cell technology to map. Thanks for the suggestion. It looks to really streamline the collection/posting flow. My only concern with this is that you’re likely to lose signal when in the mountains and out of cell range.

    -Brian

  3. Professional Snapshots » Blog Archive » Favorite Flickr Photo: 1 May Says:

    [...] location with a GPS and geotagged the photo (see a more in-depth post on mapping geotagged photos here). If you click on the photo, or click here, you’ll see the photo placed on the map at the [...]

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