GPS (Global Positioning System) is a system of satellites which orbit around our planet transmitting signals to a range of different types of devices on the ground. GPS technology in our devices detects these signals and uses them to locate our devices position. Other useful parameters they capture are speed, headings and even altitude. This type of technology can be embedded into the images that you capture to show you where your camera was when the photo was taken. Most cameras these days have a built in GPS functions similar features. This is essentially what Geotagging is.
Capturing and recording GPS data can actually be very useful for you when shooting at different locations so you’re able to view the image metadata and see exactly where your picture was taken. Photographers who travel country wide or globally like to keep track whilst on their travels, and if you regularly submit pictures to websites this is also useful because some websites use programs to include maps that let someone viewing your pictures to categorize your pictures by GPS location.
Another way Geotagging is being used extensively is when photographers share pictures with other photographers to show exactly where a certain image was taken. This helps others to find that same spot so they can make their own images of the same scene or subject. This has become very popular over the past few years especially in Europe and America.
However, there is one point I’d like to add here and that is around privacy issues. Some people (including myself in some situations) do not like to give way location information especially for instance when taking pictures at home. If you do use Geotagging and share your pictures, it’s important to know that other people are capable of seeing the precise location. So if you do not wish to give this information away you can do one of two things. You can either remove the metadata which can be quite advanced depending on what software is used. The other option which is the easiest is to make sure that Geotagging is turned off before taking the picture.
Many Nikon and Canon cameras that have GPS functionality come bundled with many other useful features. Some of these features include maps, points of interest and even a electronic compass making these types of camera a must have for the adventurous or travelling photographer. With GPS technology you can very easily capture the following handy details:
- Record where you have been
- Record Points of Interest (POI)
- Log and Track your daily travel.
- Build an interactive map.
- Help find your position if your lost.
Using your camera GPS features is extremely easy to setup and use. Basically the quickest and easiest way is to ensure that you have the correct time and date set in your camera. Some models have a “synchronize” feature. What this does is every so often your camera will communicate with a satellite which will send the correct time and date within the timezone where you are, and also updates your exact location. When doing this you should connect to a minimum of 3 satellites and this will show on your LCD display as well.
Another point which I should address is around laws in different countries regarding GPS usage. When travelling outside of Pakistan and you have the intention of using GPS and Geotagging technology, please check whether the country your visiting have limitations on its usage. In some countries GPS technology is restricted to certain usage only, or is not permitted within its borders.
Geotagging is a very useful feature that I have come to learn and appreciate over the years, and when used correctly can save so much time, especially when organising pictures into folders or galleries. So, as long as you check the laws of the country you’re in, turn geotagging off when you don’t need it, using GPS data is definitely a technology that will be around for many years to come and a technology I would highly recommend you learn and use.
Do you use Geotagging? What reasons do you use Geotagging for? I’d love to hear how you use it. You can leave a comment below.