Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Geotagging - an emerging trend

Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information. For instance, one can find images taken near a given location by entering latitude and longitude coordinates into a Geotagging enabled image search engine. Geotagging enabled information services can also potentially be used to find location-based news, websites, or other resources. By zooming in on the map, one can not only see a satellite image of the place but also the landscape of where one wants to go. Thus gaining a fresh perspective of the trip one is planning.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture with geotagging can add a few hundred more. That is probably the reason more cell phones and digital cameras now have built-in GPS support. Carrying a camera with GPS built in, naturalists can map their bird sightings or chart out seal populations. Archaeologists can mark where they unearth artifacts. Travelers can wow family and friends and bring life to slideshows.

Some of the camera phones from Sprint Nextel Corp. and gadget from Pharos Science & Applications Inc already support geotagging. High end Nikon camera can directly connect to external GPS devices and get the positioning coordinates at time of photo shoot. The upcoming PhotoFinder from ATP Electronics Inc. will be writing GPS information directly on a camera's memory card. Finally, photo sharing services like Flickr, picasa, SmugMug, Panoramio lets you manually add the photos to a map.

This is an emerging trend in digital photography and is expected to become an integral part of digital imaging going forward. As things stand today, only 5% of the total photographs posted on web carry location information.

Like any other emerging trend, this also has hind side viz privacy considerations, the failure of satellite-dependent GPS to work reliably indoors, GPS devices tag the location of the photographer, while the landmark being photographed could be miles away and most importantly, geotagging still typically involves carrying an extra gadget and fiddling with software on a computer back home.

Having said, this emerging trend has huge potential and we are very much at the beginning of it.



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