3 Low-Tech Hacks to GeoTag Your Travel Photos

September 13, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

New camera models with GPS or GeoTagging as an embedded feature are becoming more and more common, or you can buy a GPS/GeoTag unit that hooks up to your specific camera. If you aren't in the market for a new camera, and don't have the loot to splash out on a tagging system, there are a few ways around it for the more casual geotagger.

How often have you returned from a trip, only to start going through your photos and not really knowing where half of them were even taken? Of course it's a no-brainer to identify the Eiffel Tower or Colosseum, but what about the umpteenth church or random street corner with the awesome balcony?

There are a number of inexpensive apps you can download to your iPhone or Android that will sync with your camera's clock, allowing you to use software to sync the information later when you download the pictures to your computer. But if you're already on the road or don't want to take your phone, there are a few hacks to help you keep track of things.

 

  1. Take a photo of any plaques or signs for the sight you are visiting. When you first arrive, take a close-up photo of an identifier that will help you remember the name of the place. I find this especially helpful when shooting churches or lesser monuments and sights. I've spent too many hours using Google Image search to figure out which church or ruin I was looking at.
  2. If you are in a location that doesn't have a plaque or sign to photograph, you can always grab a business card from a store nearby, and photograph that for reference. No stores? Two quick snaps of a street sign and the address over a door can serve to help you nail it down later.
  3. If you're out in the middle of nowhere, there won't be any stores, signs, or business cards to help you. If it's a park or reserve, you may be able to snap the entrance sign. If you are driving, you could take a shot of the map you've used, pointing to your location. If you'd like to be more precise, take an overall photo with your camera, then use your phone camera (if you've brought it along) to take a shot of LCD screen. Make sure location services for your phone camera are on, and you can use this as a workaround later.

 

Poor-man's geotag: take a photo of your camera image data, and sync it with the location info later.

 

Not all of these will work in every situation, especially if you take a vast quantity of photos over numerous locations. It can still be time-consuming, but can hold you over or work in a pinch if an app or accessory tagger fails. If you have any tips of your own, feel free to suggest them in the comments. Happy tagging!


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