March 29, 2007

Review: Geotagging with EveryTrail

EveryTrail.png

Geotagging your photos, or tagging them with location information, is set to get big as a few things are happening right now: 1) GPS adoption climbs and more people have a GPS to use and gather information, and 2) the cheap GPS chips find their way into more and more digital cameras. With the plummeting size and cost of GPS chips, I would be surprised if we don't see consumer digital cameras with GPS chips inside of the next 2 years.

Everytrail is one site that helps you combine your tracklog from a GPS and your digital photos to share them with friends. The site is free. The process of creating "Trips" s simple and adding photos to the site allows you to tell a story of your journey. I used the EveryTrail site recently to build up a trip detailing our Mt Washington journey last summer.

Building a Trip
The first step in building a trip is to upload your GPS track and a set of photos. The process is simple and the site adds these items to an "inbox" for you. From here you can pick and choose what files you want to use to build this trip.

Combining Tracklogs and More
One feature that is important and useful is the ability to combine and alter your GPS tracks. As I hiked in and out of heavy tree cover, and walked into and out of buildings on this Mt. Washington trip, my eTrex VistaC created new tracks every time it "found" satellites. For the two day trip, I ended up with about 10 separate tracks. EveryTrail allows me to select the tracks and stitch them together to make one continuous track that represents the entire two day outing. Works well, and is indispensable. If you want to clip out a portion of the GPS track, that is easily done too.

Photo Tagging

The Everytrail system allows you to attach photos to your GPS track in a farily wasy way. The system looks at the time stamps on the picture and the time stamp on the GPS track to marry the two. The issue I ran into and one that most people may encounter is that the GPS (satellite derived timestamp) doesn't match with my camera timestamp( time stamp from a 4th dimension). EveryTrail allows you to look at a split screen with Google Maps with your GPS track highlighted on the left side of the screen and your photos on the right. A simple drag and drop action allows you to "place" your photos in the right place. EveryTrail also has the ability to batch edit the photos so that once you make the correction on one photo they carry over to other photos you have in that trip.

TIP: Take the time to go check your digital camera and set the time correctly. It never mattered before and now it does. You can avoid this issue.

Google Earth

When your trip is complete you can output the entire experience to Google Earth via a KML file. Once you've done this, you can play the track in Google Earth while seeing your photos hover over your track . You can also share this file with friends and they can see your photos too, as they are served up from the EveryTrail servers for people to see in conjunction with the track. This makes emailing the experience easy, as you are mailing around a relatively small *.KML file, without the pictures. Your pictures are on the EveryTrail server and get referenced from the Google Earth application.

Summary

The net result of using EveryTrail is the ability to output a map with your GPS track populates with photos so you can tell your story about a trip or a day out taking photos. Your "trip" inside EveryTrail can be made private, or public, giving you control over who sees the outing. I like the ability to output into Google Earth so you can "play" the GPS track and fly over the journey while viewing your pictures. It makes for a great way to share the experience.


Below is the EveryTrail You Tube Video that walks you through the process and the features. You know a picture is worth.....

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Posted by Scott Martin at March 29, 2007 8:54 AM

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