Geocoding Photos

Geocoding photos is a way to take photos and place them on a map in Cartographica. Once these have been placed, they can be displayed as the point representation of a feature, or displayed when browsing the map by clicking on point.

There are two ways to geocode photos:

  • import files that have already been coded with geospatial data (usually latitude and longitude and using the EXIF extensions to the JPEG file format)
  • using the time code on digital photos to coordinate with information gathered by GPS devices to determine location

Cartographica currently supports both the import form and the timecoding form, imported either from files that you select. Photos originating from some cellular phones, such as the iPhone, and from some recently released cameras with GPS capabilities are the most likely sources of photos that are coded with location.

Importing encoded photos

This process is simple because the photos already contain all of the necessary information to put them on the map.

Importing photos coded with geospatial data

Add photos to a Map document from files with GPS data encoded in them

  1. If you are bringing in photos from photo files, choose  Tools > Plot GPS Encoded Photos… and select the picture files in the file window.
  2. Choose Tools > Plot GPS Encoded Files 
  3. Select one or more files to import and plot into the existing map and click  Import
    Once Cartographica has loaded and coded the files, they will appear in a new layer on the map, with the location of each photo represented by a point feature.

Timecoding Photos

The process of importing photos using this method is a bit more involved due to the need to synchronize the clock information between the camera and the GPS device. If you expect to do this regularly, we suggest setting the camera's clock to the same time as the GPS whenever you turn on the camera, or at least once per day. You may also find it useful to set the time on the camera to GMT, as that is the native time of GPS and therefore requires the least amount of conversion.

Importing photos by matching photo times and GPS tracks

Add photos to a Map document from files by matching picture times with times and locations on a line layer (usually a GPS track)

Because the process is dependent upon the coordination between the camera and the GPS device, we describe the steps here from the beginning of the photo safari to the placement of the photos on the map.

  1. Sync the time on your camera to the time on your GPS device.
    Alternatively, record the difference between the times. This is easy if you can use your digital camera to take a picture of the time on your GPS when you start taking photos. However, if your GPS has no screen, then you should sync to GMT, which is the native time format for GPS data.
  2. Take pictures.
  3. Download the tracks from the GPS by doing one of the following:
    • Choose  File > Acquire GPS Data… to bring data in directly from your GPS 
    • Choose  File > Import Vector Data… to bring in an existing GPX or other exported data file (such as those made by ClueTrust's LoadMyTracks).
    If you are bringing in more than one track file (this might happen on multi-day trips, for example), you can merge the tracks together by selecting the tracks as a group in the Layer Stack and choose  Layer > Merge Selected Layers….
  4. If you are bringing in photos from photo files, choose  Tools > Timecode Photos… and select the picture files in the file window.
  5. Click  Import and watch Cartographica plot your photos onto the map.
    The result is a new point layer containing references to each of the photos placed on the map based on matching the time and the location.

Unlike geotagging software that writes information back to the file, Cartographica makes no modifications to the original photo files themselves, guaranteeing the safety and integrity of your image files.

When selecting a point in a layer with photos, you can see a full sized version of the photo by bringing up the Image Viewer by choosing  Window > Show Image Viewer.