Location Scout Resource: Flickr Maps
A location scout works closely with maps as part of the job description. Although, initially, there might be some driving or walking around looking for locations, once you find somewhere interesting, you have to know where you are, how to get back there and how to get other people, (possibly a very large group or group(s)…) there efficiently and safely. A specific location’s proximity to a given base or other locations can figure heavily into its viability as well – in fact, in some cases, a “lesser (visually) attractive” location might be “good enough” and in fact, “more” attractive overall if getting to it is fast and non-problematic. “Time is money”, as they say.
Sometimes it helps to be able to visualize a location (or see a group of locations…) as photos on a map. The first step to facilitating this digitally is to geotag the photos to be able to specify where, on a map, the photos were made. An in-depth discussion about geotagging is beyond the scope of this particular post, but I will say as much as that, with regard to digital photos, it involves electronically embedding geographic coordinates into the photos’ geospatial metadata.
Using a standalone GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver and having some familiarity with online maps (as well as traditional paper maps and atlases) are valuable tools and capabilities. At the very least record the address of a location to look it up or find its latitude / longitude on a map later. Personal familiarity with the geographic area where you are working never hurt either, but the ability to use tools at your disposal makes them all the more valuable, especially when you are dealing with unknown territory.
Flickr, as well as many other online photo services offer geotagging features whereby you “place” a photo on a provided online map, either by navigating to the place manually, giving an address or giving latitude / longitude coordinates, depending on the photo service you are using. The photo service then embeds geospatial metadata into the file itself and viola! your photo is geotagged! 🙂
Another way to geotag photos is to use a GPS-equipped camera that will geotag a photo at the moment it is created based on your geographic position. Many of the current crop of smartphones have a GPS, my ownDroid 3 (Verizon) included. There are settings available to allow the GPS in the Droid to interact with the camera and geotag photos. I have not used a standalone camera equipped with a GPS but they are surely out there, whether the GPS is integrated directly into the camera design or is an accessory.
Yet another way to geotag photos is to bring along a GPS, or even just a trip recorder with you when you go location scouting, recording your track and being very careful to have synched the camera’s clock to the GPS’s clock as you will be using the GPS’s track and the times embedded in the photos’ exif data together to embed the GPS coordinates in the photo files. Geotagging software will be needed to geotag photos or edit the data. Software may have been included with your GPS or camera and there are a number of good (and free 🙂 geotagging applications.
I am accustomed to working with Flickr so that’s the photo service I will focus on using to put geotagged photos on a map …and on a website. It should be pretty self-evident ways these maps could be of use, but your mileage may vary depending your webmaster skills. Still, many of the services I will demonstrate are designed for non-webmaster / non-techy type people to be able to use easily.
The dead-simplest way to share a map of your geotagged Flickr photos would be to put them in a set and find the “Map” link on the set page, i.e. the map for a set of my photos shot with my fisheye lenses can be found following this link:
If you want to place up to *20 geotagged Flickr photos on a Google Map here is what to do:
- Get the feed url for whatever Flickr page or set you want to place on the map. look on the bottom left of page for the
and click, or right click and save the url.
- Go to Google Maps and paste the the url into the search form box – but wait – dont search yet.
- Here is where the magic begins: per this post, “Three Hiddenish Flickr Map Features”, add GeoRSS to the url: paste “&georss=1” (w/o quotes) to the end of the the url. NOW search. If your photos have been geotagged they should show up as map pins; if you click the map pins you should see thumbnails and captions of the photos.
- To embed the map click the “link” icon (looks like a chain link) on the results page and go from there.
- *Flickr feeds allow 20 items max
If you care, (you might if you are embedding the map on your website…) Google Maps uses an iframe html tag to embed the map. Look it up. the iframe tag is probly currently the most popular embedding method, even tho for a number of reasons and somewhat ironically, in the case of Google Maps, from an seo (search engine optimization) point of view, the iframe is probably not the ideal solution. Once again, a full discussion here regarding seo would be beyond the scope of the article, suffice to say that while not ideal, the iframe is convenient and relatively easy to implement.
GeoCommons – You can also create maps of geotagged photos using GeoCommons.
- Here is a map I created using my same Fisheyes dataset (the geographically aware rss feed) : GeoCommons: Content from Fisheyes – A Flickr Photo Set.
- What is it? MapASet is a tool to map a single set of geotagged photos on flickr using Google Maps.
- Like Google Maps, MapASet uses the iframe to embed the map.
If you have geotagged your photos on Flickr (“put them on your map”) then using MapASet is really simple. I found I needed to tweak the height and width elements of the embedding code to get map and thumbnails to show properly, but overall it looks pretty good 🙂
Another map, using iMap Flickr
Like Google Maps and MapASet, iMap Flickr uses an iframe.
Equipped with the info above and some of your own location scout ingenuity and creativity, you should now easily be ready to share maps with rest of the locations department and production!
Location Scout Resource: Flickr Geotagging Bookmarklet / loc.alize.us
Aemkei at Sumaato Blog writes:
Localize Bookmarklet – Map Your Flickr Photos! | Overview
I just spent some time to create a slim bookmarklet that enables mapping, geocoding and geotagging directly in your Flickr photo page. It works with all common browsers without the need for any extension.
This bookmarklet worked great for me, you save it to your Bookmarks (Firefox) or Favorites (Internet Explorer), log in to your Flickr page and a photo you would like to geotag. Click the bookmark and let the magic begin!
Here is a Flickr photo set I tagged using the bookmarklet. Very kewl!