You’re probably familiar with the metadata that’s embedded in digital photos—information your camera automatically adds to each image file—such as the time stamp, camera model, lens and camera settings and more for every shot. What most digital cameras don’t log automatically is where you shot each image. That’s where geotagging comes in. With a handheld GPS unit and appropriate geotagging software, you can “tag” each image with its latitude and longitude information. Some systems also will record elevation and even the compass direction at which the camera was pointed for the shot.
One obvious reason is so you can find the precise spot again. If you want to return to a particular place at another time or season when the light will be different, you’ll know exactly where to go—especially useful when you’re in unfamiliar terri-tory. It also adds an extra dimension to your photo travelogues.
Plus, in the digital world, it’s easier to share our photography. Including location information when you post photos in galleries and contests can inspire others to visit those locations for great photos of their own.
The most practical reason, though, is organization. Apple’s Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’09 will automatically map your photos and translate your GPS coordinates into searchable place names. Google’s Picassa and sites like Panoramio.com also have geotagging features.
A handful of cameras have geotagging GPS units built in, which makes the process simple: Shoot your photos, and the location data is automatically added to the metadata for each image as you shoot.
If your camera doesn’t have this capability as stock gear, there are a number of geotagging GPS accessories available that connect to your camera. These also record location data as you shoot each image—just like a built-in GPS, only you have to acquire and carry the separate unit.