William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

The "End" of Geotagging

I think in the years to come, GPS receivers will become standard equipment on digital cameras. Why not? They're already on all cellular phones sold in the United States. They're on those funny little navigator / backup-camera hybrid devices that you get at Canadian Tire, professionally install, and then discover a Chinese-language error message that eventually means you have to take the whole thing off your rig again and send it back, which is why I might be just a bit bitter about them. Anyway, the point: GPS is headed for digital cameras. I'm surprised it's not there already. No, I don't mean bloody hot-shoes, nor ruggedized cameras designed for GIS fieldwork, nor a nominally accurate Sony dongle for certain Sony cameras. No, it'll be on all cameras. Geolocation will be as common on metadata as the time and date. (There are some significant technical challenges, but apparently it is coming.)

And then that will hopefully kill the laborious process of geotagging. I think it's a grand idea, but am I willing to spend hours upon hours vaugely and imprecisely associating my photos with some locale? No. I want to do it right or not do it at all.

This is what I see happening: Eventually, services like Flickr will allow you to do things like organize your photos into topical sets (eg: "Canada Day at the Park") by simply drawing a circle on a map! And then, for things like private parties and family photos where you don't want the geolocation to be too precise, you'll be able to select a "vague" option which will just associate the photo with the city / town in general, or perhaps just the country, or perhaps nothing at all.

I just think the geotagging workflow right now is all messed up. It should be a matter of taking away information, not the grunt work of tediously plugging it in. I have more than 10,000 images on Flickr. If it took one minute to geotag every photo, I guess I could tag them all in a week, not accounting for food or sleep. But that doesn't sound like very much fun, does it?

Get me my GPS!

Good news: The Ubuntu version of the Mini 9 went down by $50. Hmm!
Tags: geotagging, photos

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