How to Geotag Your Photos

Have you ever looked at digital vacation photos from years past and come across a photo from that cool town in Southern France? Or was it Northern Italy? Or was it another cool town in Southern France? One way to help your memory is through adding a geotag to your photographs. This is easy to do and accomplished in different ways based on the gear you have at your disposal.

For those who don't know, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is a constellation of satellites orbiting Earth that transmit signals, which are then translated into position data by GPS receivers. Today, GPS receivers are found in cars, trucks, planes, smart phones, watches, cameras, and more.

Geotagging While Shooting

1. Camera Built-In GPS

If your camera has built-in GPS, you are good to go! Just be sure to dive into your camera's menus and make sure that the GPS is on and recording position data. Easy!

Canon GPS Receiver GP-E2

2. Add GPS to Your Camera

Several camera manufacturers allow their cameras to receive GPS via a dedicated add-on accessory that plugs into the camera's electronic ports, or connects via the hot shoe. These devices will automatically transfer GPS location information to your image files just as if the camera had GPS built in.

3. Camera/Smartphone App

Some cameras can connect to your smart device (phone or tablet) via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal. Many of these mobile applications will add the GPS data from the phone or tablet to any images you capture or import to the phone using the camera connection app. To allow the mobile device to geotag, be sure that the application is allowed to use location data from your phone.

Geotagging in Post-Processing

Many photo organization and photo post-processing software systems allow you to add location information to your images after you capture them. Some even have interactive maps that allow you to virtually zoom in to any point on the globe and tag an image to that location. Others ask you to enter your latitude and longitude manually.

The next methods for getting position data to your photographs requires taking some notes!

1. Use Position Data from Your Mobile Device

Most of today's smartphones and tablets have built in GPS. The GPS is used for maps and driving directions and by dozens of apps that utilize position data. If you are not connecting your camera to your smart device via an app, you can still manually record position data when out making photos. The key is to find where the latitude and longitude is displayed on your phone, or download an app that shows you the position and record it electronically or with a handy pen and paper, noting the image(s) you took so that you can match up the data later.

2. Use Your Address

If you are in an urban area, or near a structure with a mailing address, you can take note of that address and then, when at a computer, enter that location into your software, or use a map program to pull a GPS coordinate from that address in order to geotag your image.

3. Use a Handheld GPS

There are dozens of reasons to carry a handheld GPS, especially while travelling or on an adventure. One reason is so that you are not constantly drawing down your smartphone's battery by using it to get position information. Also, many handheld GPS units have useful functions like topographical maps and satellite communications capabilities for staying in touch when well outside of cellular phone range.

Garmin Montana 680t Handheld GPS

Again, take note of your position and the image number (or numbers) and write it down or enter it into your smart device.

How do you prefer to geotag? Or, are you one of those photographers who does not want to geotag? Share in the Comments section, below!

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