Lately I have become a lot more interested in geotagging (assigning GPS coordinates) the photos I take. Primarily because I think It's neat. Recording exactly "where" you took that photo is a great addition to both the picture and the "when" (date & time) information seems to complete the image itself. That's it, you're now setup to record your GPS locations on your travels. So, before you start a trip, a hike, or photo shooting sessions, all you need to do is start and stop the TrekBuddy logging. From there, I will show in an upcoming article how to associate the logs with your pictures.
But, for most digital cameras -- it is not easy -- since is not a standard feature...yet. But, if you have a Blackberry or similarly capable GPS tracking device, with a little ingenuity and patience you can easily geotag your photos.
The first step is install software on your Blackberry device that will create a tracklog, or a time recorded log of your various GPS locations that we'll use in a later post to associate with your photos.
After trying out several different utilities, I settled on TrekBuddy -- an open source, free utility application that runs on your Blackberry -- that in my experience uses very little battery while tracking your "treks" or basically where you journey to. It's a J2ME application for GPS tracking and also supports smart GPX as well as raw NMEA logs. You can learn more about it and download it from here: http://wiki.trekbuddy.net/index.php/Main_Page -- the current version as of the time of this post is 0.9.83.
Here is the application configuration and setting you'll need to make in order to get it to work properly on your Blackberry device and then use it later to associate with the photos to geotag the photos.
1. The first time you run the application, it will ask you to create a directory for TrekBuddy to store your GPS log files on. Choose yes to create the directories, which in my case was on my Micro SD Card.
2. Initially, no location is set in the application -- this is because the device has not been granted access to the GPS system on your Blackberry mobile device. Go to the menu and click start to request GPS access. Alternatively, if you are on the 4.6 version of the Blackberry OS or higher, at the time of installation you have the opportunity to grant TrekBuddy "trusted application" status which will give it access to the GPS location information.
3. If you have not granted trusted application status to TrekBuddy, it will ask you to grant application permissions to access the GPS location information. I selected yes and clicked the "Do not ask again" option in order not to be pestered further.
4. Now we need to configure TrekBuddy to track and record your movements properly. In order to do that, click on the "settings" menu and select either "Ask" or "Always" depending on your preferences and click the options for "log only valid" and "log GSM info". Save the settings.
5. Now just click start from the menu in an area where your GPS can reach a satellite (for example outdoors). You should here a chime, see the green circle in the upper right hand corner to record your movements.
That's it, you're now setup to record your GPS locations on your travels. So, before you start a trip, a hike, or photo shooting sessions, all you need to do is start and stop the TrekBuddy logging. From there, I will show in an upcoming article how to associate the logs with your pictures.