Is Geotagging Images a Dying Trend? POLL RESULTS - Digital Photography School

Is Geotagging Images a Dying Trend? POLL RESULTS

It wasn’t long ago that when experts were asked about what the next big thing in photography would be that ‘geotagging’ images was the commonly heard answer. We have seen more cameras released with geotagging capabilities and a lot of post processing software being released with it built in – but is anyone geotagging their images?

We decided to ask our readers if they’ve ever geotagged an image and here’s what they said (based upon 17,478 responses).

Screen Shot 2012-07-27 at 3.48.23 PM.png

So 72% of our readers have never Geotagged an image and a further 2% have done it in the past but no longer do.

Of course this might not be too bad for Geotagging – after all its a relatively new thing isn’t it?

Here’s where it gets interesting – we ran exactly the same poll just over 3 years ago – back in 2009 – when Geotagging was much newer and where it was more difficult to do (in fact many of our readers back then were doing it quite manually). So what were the results back in 2009?

Screen Shot 2012-07-27 at 3.54.14 PM.jpg

That’s right – back then 35% of our readers said that they either geotagged all the time or some of the time (as opposed to 26% today).65% didn’t geotag any more as opposed to 74% today.

Now these are not scientific results by any means and our readership has grown and changed a fair bit since 2009 – however I find it interesting that despite there being more tools available to geotag images that our readership is doing it less than they did 3 years ago.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Xipha

    I don’t have the capability on my camera to geotag, but if I did I would likely only use it for landscapes. Since I shoot primarily portraits I don’t see much of a point, unless I were at a remote location I wanted to be able to find it again.

  • John

    This is dumb. As an iPhone owner, all my photos are geotagged… the iPhone got me into photography and I bought my first real DSLR the other day, but realized technology in this space is severely lagging behind the times… and I’m guessing so are photographers. It doesn’t look like its that easy to geotag like it is on a smartphone.

    I have to ask myself if I should have waited until DSLR equipment matures before I bought… no way I’m paying for some dumb add-on just to get wifi and tagging… and I’ll never buy a Samsuck product. (copy cats)

  • Jeff

    Darren: Setting aside the potential issues with your statistical methods, did you ask what camera they were using as their primary? Given the extreme rise of cell phone camera users, they don’t have to actively geotag. The camera is doing it for them, and probably without their knowledge.

  • http://regex.info/blog/ Jeffrey Friedl

    I think it says more about the influx of new readers than about trends in photography. Take the same poll of all the folks that answered last time, and you’ll have your trend.

  • http://martybugs.net/blog Martin

    And how many people are using the camera on their phone, and it’s automatically geotagging the images without them realising it is doing so….?

  • http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/ Mridula

    Somehow it is not too much fun, not worth the bother and if I am uploading from a location I may not like the world to know where exactly I am!

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/

  • Jack Clarfelt

    The kind of questions I ask myself when taking a photograph are:- how do I feel about the object or situation, what kind of feeling or mood do I get, how do I simplyfy some elements and exaggerate others, how can I identify with the subject matter yet manipulate it into my interpretation. Geotagging is not an answer I have ever come up with or ever think I will.

  • Daniel

    Geotagging becomes more transparent. Many modern compacts and all smart phones geotag our pictures without us even realising.

  • Mark

    More people may say they are not geotagging their images these days but I believe that is “consciously geotagging” i.e. importing them into software and adding location data rather than the camera just doing it automatically.

    Anyone taking pictures on a smartphone will automatically be geotagging the images unless they have the location service switched off for the camera. More and more compact cameras now have inbuilt GPS systems for tagging so that’s another group added to the pile. So yes, I’d agree that people geotagging images is likely in decline. Machines doing it on their own, now that’s a different matter.

  • Peter Garner

    I just bought a Prottix Geo One as the price has fallen to a reasonable level: It’s half the price of a real Nikon unit and works really well. I’m delighted tht it works with both my D200 and D5000!

    As a “tourist” photographer I love to geotag as it provides me with easy recall as to where I took the picture – a real asset hen you’re shooting hundreds if images over the course of a year!

    On a more serious note, if I’m in “photo-journalist mode” it can be extremely useful (maybe even to the police) if I can geotag an incident and transmit the images back to a relevant party: this is becoming a lot easier with devices like the iPad with an SD card reader.

    Finally, if you needed further convincing, the picture caption later in the article, “Hillsides of Peru by Jeff Johnson
    Description: On the road from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo, you will find beautiful scenery” would be made all the richer if you could look up the location on Google Maps/Earth and “explore near here”.

  • http://www.travelsignposts.com Tony Page

    Hmm, spelling hasn’t improved in three years….!

    Geo-tagging can be very useful for travel photographers, although to be honest I am usually so paranoid about recording locations I rarely find myself needing to refer to it. On the other hand. the potential for mash-ups could be quite attractive for online use – especially if you run a travel site like I do. Something I would like to get into if I ever get the time!

  • John Martins

    I suppose it depends on personal taste but I don’t and never have seen the point. If no one misses geotagging on Ansel Adams’ and Edward Weston’s photos, I’m confident that no one will miss it on mine.

  • Karen

    I always geotag my photos so it interesting to see that I’m in the minority. I started about five years ago. I enjoy hiking, I’m carrying a hand GPS anyway, I figured that I might as well use the data. While it does take time to geotag photos upfront, I think it’s a lot easier than trying to caption the photos later.

  • http://richardlinton.photoshelter.com/ Richard Linton

    My Nikon D90 does not have it built in nor do I have an attachment. Of course, I am not that keen on the idea to begin with. But if others like it more power to them, this just what I like to do.

    I do some geo tagging but only “after the fact” and only when really needed or desired. I have more fun geo tagging my winter pictures where I am out on a frozen lake. Just a bit of a challenge to find the spot in summer ;-)

    I can see some benefits but I really only see it as a “gee whiz” feature. It does not help me learn new techniques or to critique my images. It just tells me where I was but only within a reasonable distance and in some cases that “error factor” built into GPS systems can mean the difference between a great perspective or a perspective of a tree trunk at 6 inches.

  • Joaniebalonie

    I have a Mac and have a Panasonic Lumix which tags every picture and tells me where the picture was taken. I make movies and slide shows from every major trip I take so it helps me label pictures. I just bought a Rebel but will take my Panasonic and take one picture of every place I go so I can have that info when I return.

  • http://cameraguyzack.blogspot.com Zack Jones

    I tag the vast majority of my shots. I like knowing where the camera was when the shot was taken.

  • http://www.ryanfonkert.com Fonk

    I just don’t see the point. When I download the photos to my PC, I put them in a folder specific to that shoot anyway, which is usually named with the location. I really don’t need to specifically geo-tag them to know where they were taken. Of course, photos taken w/ my iPhone are automatically geo-tagged; but then, the random photos I take with my iPhone I also rarely care about outside the moment that I shoot and share (to FB or whatever), so that’s moot.

  • David Corona

    I used to, but I realized that some Web site where offering my flickr images for sale to be used as cellphone wallpapers from particular places based on the data collected from geo tagging.

  • http://digitalcameraadventures.blogspot.com/ Leopoldo “Leo” García

    The cheapest way to place coordenates in your metadata is by getting the info from Google Earth, there are a few advantages to this:

    You can place it in tour keywords along with the date and location. I use Bridge CS4 and its IPTC core to put all the info of my shoots. So you can place accurate or general geolocation data in your template and batch tag all your pictures.

    Its free

    If there is something worth showing you can do a screen capture and place the foto on it as a layer, thus
    enabling you to post an image without any privacy issues.

    Regards

    Leopoldo García Berrizbeitia
    Venezuela

  • http://www.gpsphotography.com Matt Kidd

    I agree with many of the above comments regarding the true nature of the solicited audience; while maybe not the most accurate representation of our photography population, certainly interesting data nonetheless. The simple fact that every major camera manufacturer now offers several GPS camera models is not a coincidence; there is real value to consider here.

    I see geotagging as being marginally useful for certain professional photographers; portrait, landscape, wedding, etc., but for many other photographers it is very useful and becomes a true account of the time and place an image is captured; press photography, marketing, disaster relief, surveillance, etc. And for our casual photographers whether using a smartphone, point-n-shoot or a DSLR, it can be very interesting to see the experience of your travels when viewed on a world map.

    I work with GIS and geotagged images on a daily basis with the military, government and commercial industries where geotagging is more essential for understanding the ‘whole’ picture. For us, it’s really a matter of capturing the best data possible with every press of the shutter in order to answer the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where and why).

    Not everyone needs this or may even want their photos to be geotagged, but for many others it’s not only fun to look back and know exactly where they were, but may also be critical for job or mission success. Geotagging is very much alive and growing.

  • Pictish Halfling

    While I don’t currently own a camera with geotagging capabilities, I do travel to some rather out of the way places (Iran, Syria, Lebanon) and it’s extremely helpful to capture location information, for instance when I stop the car in the middle of nowhere to photograph some unidentified ruin.

    Currently I rely on taking a snapshot with my smartphone to record the location, which is a bizarrely cumbersome process, hopefully one day geotagging will be a standard option on all photographic apparatus.

  • http://www.sergiodg.com Sergio De Gregorio

    Interesting to see these results but as you are already mentioning, this is more a reflection of how your readers geotagging “segments” have changed.

    You might be reaching a lower end of readers, less specialists.
    Some of these might not even know they’ve geotagged.. with their smartphones.

  • Bikernz

    GeoTagr, an iPhone app, is very good for tagging shots taken on a DSLR although it does add another step to your workflow (Google it for details). I travel a lot and find it very helpful to know where each shot was taken because I might visit several locations in a day. Makes writing my blog easier too.

  • http://www.pixoto.com/dfenning Dan

    As someone mentioned, I find geotagging to be both cumbersome and a waste for anything other than landscape/nature images. As for technology falling behind, I refuse to even consider this… If all DSLR’s geotagged, the price of an already expensive camera will just rise higher, AND you’d have to add a data plan or a GPS account like Garmin.

    Personally, I’ll leave the tags out and use my existing Garmin to tag my locations instead (when I need to remember a good location).

  • Ed Law

    Darren, I had hoped Canon would add it to the T41 as that seems to be their “trial” along with the 7D, but, NOT .. so I am still unable to easily geotag. I do and use on iPhone and iPad.

    I will, in a heartbeat, if it is added. Canon? easy, all my lenses are for Canons .. can’t change ;-)

  • Jerry

    I belong to a camera club and very few of the member know what geotagging is ….. when I explain its purpose, they would like a geotagging device …. however, their camea is not geotag capable or they do not want to spend the money for a good device ..

  • Leonard Halmrast

    I never Geotagged before, but now I am since I finally have a GPS on my camera. It is something that I had been looking forward to being able to do, now I can! I think it is a great ability to have when out doing landscapes and nature photography.

  • http://digitalcameraadventures.blogspot.com/ Leopoldo “Leo” García

    Here is a little story that may justify the geotagging argument.
    Follow the link:http://digitalcameraadventures.blogspot.com/2012/08/field-notes-geotagging-of-beetles.html

    Regards

    Leo

  • http://www.viajandofotografando.com Rafael

    I don’t consider that this poll takes a picture of the real world.

    Geotagging is a rather out-of-track thing to do for DSLR owners. If you look around the DSLR’s available, almost none (if any) of them come with built-in GPS. And I bet the majority of this site’s readers are owners of DSLRs.

    If you want to geotag your DSLR pictures you have to take on extra accessories, be it third-party or OEM, but still an accessory, that adds weight and volume to an already big (if compared to the P&S’s) camera for travel. See Nikon’s GPS-1 unit: cumbersome, big, and not that good. Also it is very expensive for what it does.

    I have a D7000 myself, to geotag the photos I didn’t want to pay the GPS-1 price nor use that relatively big thing on my camera’s hot-shoe. So I had to purchase a smaller third-party device (Aokatec’s AK-N7000) that goes into the camera’s port side and also a separate GPS receiver (Holux M-1000B) that I put on my backpack while photographing – the GPS data is sent through Bluetooth. This has cost me a fraction (GPS receiver: US$ 45 + US$ 50 of the AK-N7000) and works very well, actually the GPS receiver being better in signal than Nikon’s.

    IMHO the problem are the manufacturers wanting to sell accessories that actually should come with(in) the camera. Why can’t a US$ 50 GPS receiver fit into a US$ 1.200 camera (D7000)? Size does not matter, we see lots of small cameras featuring GPS, even iPhones do it.

    So, all in all, I credit this more to the cumbersomeness that is to geotag your photos taken with DSLR’s. If you don’t own such devices, you can tag it manually in Lightroom – sometimes a time demanding task and you can’t afford to waste this time doing something that could be done automatically and without any intervention. In the end, one wants his photos geotagged, but not if there’s a tricky road ahead to achieve this.

    P.S.: I’ve even lost (forgotten) my GPS receiver while travelling on a train in Switzerland, on the fourth day of my trip – guess if the photos I took on my trip since then got geotags? None of them, I’m in no mood to spent hours geotagging them in LR or trying to guess the places I don’t remember with precision.

    Regards,
    Rafael

  • http://www.viajandofotografando.com Rafael

    Oh, and geo-tagging for me is useful when travelling, as I shoot within a city and can see exactly the path I’ve ran on that day. The photos I took in Paris, if I load them on the map module of LR (even Picasa’s do) I can see a picture-per-picture traced path along the city, the streets I’ve been at and points where I took pictures – that is fun and useful. I felt frustrated when I lost the GPS receiver for the rest of the trip, there were a lot of cities yet to visit. :(

    GPS receiver built into the DSLR’s is the best solution, let’s hope the next generation DSLR’s do the GPS receiver as a standard.

  • John Anthony Blair

    I bought my Panasonic Camera specifically because of its GPS capability. I’m very glad I did. I am a geologist and I frequently take pictures of geologic features. By using Lightroom4 and the GPS capability, I can more easily see how the geology fits into the big picture. For example, I took a picture of broken up rock, known as fault breccia, and had it geotagged. Once this picture was on the map shown by Lightroom4, I was able to see that the fault breccia corresponded with a vegetation pattern that corresponded to the fault.

  • Rick V

    Leo,
    Thanks for the beetle post. It strikes me that the CAPABILITY for geotagging is a tremendous asset, even if not normally used or wanted due to unnecessary (even if trivial) data volume, privacy concerns, or whatever. Your example of beneficial use beyond mere entertainment is spot on.

    With the amount of data processing going on inside DSLRs, the addition of a GPS receiver is pretty minor. I doubt if it would add more than a few tens of dollars to the production cost.

  • Doug

    I dont geo-tag photos But I often take a photo of the road map with a pencil pointing to my location, then I write a brief note on the map such as the date which is great if some years later I am planning a tour. Because a quick glance at the map lets me find places I want to photograph hopefully in better light or with better weather.

  • Chris

    Geotagging… always felt like something that the “social media” was trying to get you to do. I can see why travel photographers would be interested, or people on a trip sharing about things on facebook, but really I could care less myself.

    I have enough things going through my head when I press that shutter, wether or not to post up the gps positioning for a shot is about the last thing I really care about, though sometimes I mention the general region.
    It’s just not important to me, and I don’t want to bother with extra steps later in post that I find unimportant.

    If it’s good for you though, hey, more power to you.

  • Art Taylor

    I agree that GPS for geo-tagging should be built into more D-SLRs as a standard feature. Several of the Sony Alphas (A65, A77), DO have this feature. If someone is moving from a 35 mm film camera to a D-SLR, it makes sense to go with the same brand of camera and lenses as used with film, whether GPS is either built-in or available as an optional accessory being a secondary consideration. Going with an A65 for me was simple since I have a number of older Minolta Maxxum auto-focus lenses which work extremely well with the new Sony.

    Having travelled extensively overseas, riding on and photographing trains from trackside, as well as having participated in several canoe trips and at least one backpacking trip, the ability to have included geo-tagging information with my slides would have been fantastic. It’s not always practical, or even possible, to make a note of the exact location where each photo or group of photos is taken, especially in the wilderness where only a large-scale topographic map is likely to provide sufficient detail for location identification, but even the thought of trying to paddle a canoe through white water, take photos, AND mark those photo locations on a topo map gives me the creeps.

    While studio/commercial photographers, wedding photographers, and portrait photographers likely have little or no need for geo-tagging, many other photographers, such as photo-journalists, law enforcement and military photographers, travel photographers, and nature photographers, could benefit greatly from built-in geo-tagging in their D-SLRs. Software is available to remove selected EXIF and IPTC data from image files before those images get shared on the web or in email, so if locations are a matter of safety or security concern, any GPS information could be easily removed before photos are shared.

    As I scan my slides and negatives from the past, I’ve been adding GPS data from Google Maps/Earth as time permits but I really appreciate the time and effort the Sony A65 saves by doing the work for me with every shot.

  • Matt

    You should have included a section for “Huh? Geotagging? Wassat?” :) Only time I’ve ever geotagged a picture is when I upload it from my smart phone to facebook. In that case it’s quite “cute” to be able to say “I was at this place with these people” but to do it on my DSLR I’d need to either do it manually or buy a memory card with a GPS reciever or something… which is too expensive for a “cute feature”. If I was going ot buy a stupidly expensive memory card I’d get the “Eye-Fi” one so I would’t need to plug my camera into my computer to transfer images… again something that’s not worth it for me.

    The smart phone’s for fun/socially interactive photography when I don’t care about computer decided exposures, lower pixel count and so on. The DSLR is when I want to get a great picture for the art’s sake, not so much for the socially interactive thing (It’s too big & heavy to use the camera in that way really).

  • Michael Hughes

    Comparing to the test results from 3 years ago is only valid if we also know the reasdership is the same. With the increase in DSLR affordability I think the readership will contain many casual DSLR readers ( and I include myself in this category ) who would not bother with geotagging whereas 3 years ago DSLR’s were more expensive and therefore the users where likely more keen enthusiasts. My leap of corrolation here is that more dedicated readers were lilkey to Geotag than casual users.

    So, it might not mean geotagging is reducing, just that your readership has evolved in more general DSLR users.

  • http://www.gregoryspring.com Greg Spring

    I often travel to Europe and photograph churches and other buildings. Geo tagging is very helpful in identifying their names and history.

  • http://www.shinyphoto.co.uk/ Tim

    Flag me as an `everything I do’ type. I carry a GPS on the camera-bag; if I’m away walking somewhere new, I’ll set it running and correlate when I get home; if I’m doing my photo-a-day then I can remember where along half a mile of road I shot something anyway – in some cases with better accuracy given google satellite maps.

    I understand where jack clarfelt is coming from, and concentrating on getting a shot right is fine – but it far from precludes geotagging. Me, I sometimes like to go places and shoot landscape; I wouldn’t be able to scout around in advance half so effectively if I didn’t see what others had made of an area, and their stuff wouldn’t show up if they hadn’t geotagged it.

  • http://www.gpsphotography.com Matt

    Here is an article that may also shed a little light on the benefits of geotagging…

    http://www.gpsphotography.com/why-buy-a-gps-camera

  • canonfan

    I only use geotagging if its turned on in my phone accidentally, other than that the only geotagging I do is with my memory or these weird things called pen and paper :p

  • Tom Kwei

    I geo tag all my photos. I buy cameras with gps capability.
    Location information enhances my enjoyment and recollection when viewing my geo-tagged photos.

  • judyn

    I’ve been geotagging almost all of my images for years. First with a separate device and now with two Sony cameras that automatically geo tag.

    In the days of film I was constantly frustrated by not knowing where pictures were taken. With digital it was better because at least I knew the date and time, which is some help.

    But I still didn’t know well enough, so I bought a gps device, and now two cameras that do it automatically. Before I load my images into Lightroom I run them through a program that fills in location fields based on the GPS info. Unfortunately, the one that did address level location is now dead, Microsoft Pro Photo Tools, so now I have to live with very imprecise location fields, but I can always see it in google earth. For location fields I now use GeoSetter.

  • Danilo

    When geotagging will be easier to all, so automatically included in photos by economic cameras without loosing time to gather gps log into images, the poll result will be : 100% of us.

Some older comments

  • Danilo

    October 10, 2012 01:37 am

    When geotagging will be easier to all, so automatically included in photos by economic cameras without loosing time to gather gps log into images, the poll result will be : 100% of us.

  • judyn

    August 7, 2012 12:27 pm

    I've been geotagging almost all of my images for years. First with a separate device and now with two Sony cameras that automatically geo tag.

    In the days of film I was constantly frustrated by not knowing where pictures were taken. With digital it was better because at least I knew the date and time, which is some help.

    But I still didn't know well enough, so I bought a gps device, and now two cameras that do it automatically. Before I load my images into Lightroom I run them through a program that fills in location fields based on the GPS info. Unfortunately, the one that did address level location is now dead, Microsoft Pro Photo Tools, so now I have to live with very imprecise location fields, but I can always see it in google earth. For location fields I now use GeoSetter.

  • Tom Kwei

    August 7, 2012 02:34 am

    I geo tag all my photos. I buy cameras with gps capability.
    Location information enhances my enjoyment and recollection when viewing my geo-tagged photos.

  • canonfan

    August 5, 2012 12:03 am

    I only use geotagging if its turned on in my phone accidentally, other than that the only geotagging I do is with my memory or these weird things called pen and paper :p

  • Matt

    August 4, 2012 09:02 am

    Here is an article that may also shed a little light on the benefits of geotagging…

    http://www.gpsphotography.com/why-buy-a-gps-camera

  • Tim

    August 3, 2012 11:13 pm

    Flag me as an `everything I do' type. I carry a GPS on the camera-bag; if I'm away walking somewhere new, I'll set it running and correlate when I get home; if I'm doing my photo-a-day then I can remember where along half a mile of road I shot something anyway - in some cases with better accuracy given google satellite maps.

    I understand where jack clarfelt is coming from, and concentrating on getting a shot right is fine - but it far from precludes geotagging. Me, I sometimes like to go places and shoot landscape; I wouldn't be able to scout around in advance half so effectively if I didn't see what others had made of an area, and their stuff wouldn't show up if they hadn't geotagged it.

  • Greg Spring

    August 3, 2012 09:32 pm

    I often travel to Europe and photograph churches and other buildings. Geo tagging is very helpful in identifying their names and history.

  • Michael Hughes

    August 3, 2012 06:54 pm

    Comparing to the test results from 3 years ago is only valid if we also know the reasdership is the same. With the increase in DSLR affordability I think the readership will contain many casual DSLR readers ( and I include myself in this category ) who would not bother with geotagging whereas 3 years ago DSLR's were more expensive and therefore the users where likely more keen enthusiasts. My leap of corrolation here is that more dedicated readers were lilkey to Geotag than casual users.

    So, it might not mean geotagging is reducing, just that your readership has evolved in more general DSLR users.

  • Matt

    August 3, 2012 02:31 pm

    You should have included a section for "Huh? Geotagging? Wassat?" :) Only time I've ever geotagged a picture is when I upload it from my smart phone to facebook. In that case it's quite "cute" to be able to say "I was at this place with these people" but to do it on my DSLR I'd need to either do it manually or buy a memory card with a GPS reciever or something... which is too expensive for a "cute feature". If I was going ot buy a stupidly expensive memory card I'd get the "Eye-Fi" one so I would't need to plug my camera into my computer to transfer images... again something that's not worth it for me.

    The smart phone's for fun/socially interactive photography when I don't care about computer decided exposures, lower pixel count and so on. The DSLR is when I want to get a great picture for the art's sake, not so much for the socially interactive thing (It's too big & heavy to use the camera in that way really).

  • Art Taylor

    August 3, 2012 01:29 pm

    I agree that GPS for geo-tagging should be built into more D-SLRs as a standard feature. Several of the Sony Alphas (A65, A77), DO have this feature. If someone is moving from a 35 mm film camera to a D-SLR, it makes sense to go with the same brand of camera and lenses as used with film, whether GPS is either built-in or available as an optional accessory being a secondary consideration. Going with an A65 for me was simple since I have a number of older Minolta Maxxum auto-focus lenses which work extremely well with the new Sony.

    Having travelled extensively overseas, riding on and photographing trains from trackside, as well as having participated in several canoe trips and at least one backpacking trip, the ability to have included geo-tagging information with my slides would have been fantastic. It's not always practical, or even possible, to make a note of the exact location where each photo or group of photos is taken, especially in the wilderness where only a large-scale topographic map is likely to provide sufficient detail for location identification, but even the thought of trying to paddle a canoe through white water, take photos, AND mark those photo locations on a topo map gives me the creeps.

    While studio/commercial photographers, wedding photographers, and portrait photographers likely have little or no need for geo-tagging, many other photographers, such as photo-journalists, law enforcement and military photographers, travel photographers, and nature photographers, could benefit greatly from built-in geo-tagging in their D-SLRs. Software is available to remove selected EXIF and IPTC data from image files before those images get shared on the web or in email, so if locations are a matter of safety or security concern, any GPS information could be easily removed before photos are shared.

    As I scan my slides and negatives from the past, I've been adding GPS data from Google Maps/Earth as time permits but I really appreciate the time and effort the Sony A65 saves by doing the work for me with every shot.

  • Chris

    August 3, 2012 04:49 am

    Geotagging... always felt like something that the "social media" was trying to get you to do. I can see why travel photographers would be interested, or people on a trip sharing about things on facebook, but really I could care less myself.

    I have enough things going through my head when I press that shutter, wether or not to post up the gps positioning for a shot is about the last thing I really care about, though sometimes I mention the general region.
    It's just not important to me, and I don't want to bother with extra steps later in post that I find unimportant.

    If it's good for you though, hey, more power to you.

  • Doug

    August 3, 2012 04:18 am

    I dont geo-tag photos But I often take a photo of the road map with a pencil pointing to my location, then I write a brief note on the map such as the date which is great if some years later I am planning a tour. Because a quick glance at the map lets me find places I want to photograph hopefully in better light or with better weather.

  • Rick V

    August 3, 2012 04:12 am

    Leo,
    Thanks for the beetle post. It strikes me that the CAPABILITY for geotagging is a tremendous asset, even if not normally used or wanted due to unnecessary (even if trivial) data volume, privacy concerns, or whatever. Your example of beneficial use beyond mere entertainment is spot on.

    With the amount of data processing going on inside DSLRs, the addition of a GPS receiver is pretty minor. I doubt if it would add more than a few tens of dollars to the production cost.

  • John Anthony Blair

    August 3, 2012 04:08 am

    I bought my Panasonic Camera specifically because of its GPS capability. I'm very glad I did. I am a geologist and I frequently take pictures of geologic features. By using Lightroom4 and the GPS capability, I can more easily see how the geology fits into the big picture. For example, I took a picture of broken up rock, known as fault breccia, and had it geotagged. Once this picture was on the map shown by Lightroom4, I was able to see that the fault breccia corresponded with a vegetation pattern that corresponded to the fault.

  • Rafael

    August 3, 2012 04:04 am

    Oh, and geo-tagging for me is useful when travelling, as I shoot within a city and can see exactly the path I've ran on that day. The photos I took in Paris, if I load them on the map module of LR (even Picasa's do) I can see a picture-per-picture traced path along the city, the streets I've been at and points where I took pictures - that is fun and useful. I felt frustrated when I lost the GPS receiver for the rest of the trip, there were a lot of cities yet to visit. :(

    GPS receiver built into the DSLR's is the best solution, let's hope the next generation DSLR's do the GPS receiver as a standard.

  • Rafael

    August 3, 2012 03:52 am

    I don't consider that this poll takes a picture of the real world.

    Geotagging is a rather out-of-track thing to do for DSLR owners. If you look around the DSLR's available, almost none (if any) of them come with built-in GPS. And I bet the majority of this site's readers are owners of DSLRs.

    If you want to geotag your DSLR pictures you have to take on extra accessories, be it third-party or OEM, but still an accessory, that adds weight and volume to an already big (if compared to the P&S's) camera for travel. See Nikon's GPS-1 unit: cumbersome, big, and not that good. Also it is very expensive for what it does.

    I have a D7000 myself, to geotag the photos I didn't want to pay the GPS-1 price nor use that relatively big thing on my camera's hot-shoe. So I had to purchase a smaller third-party device (Aokatec's AK-N7000) that goes into the camera's port side and also a separate GPS receiver (Holux M-1000B) that I put on my backpack while photographing - the GPS data is sent through Bluetooth. This has cost me a fraction (GPS receiver: US$ 45 + US$ 50 of the AK-N7000) and works very well, actually the GPS receiver being better in signal than Nikon's.

    IMHO the problem are the manufacturers wanting to sell accessories that actually should come with(in) the camera. Why can't a US$ 50 GPS receiver fit into a US$ 1.200 camera (D7000)? Size does not matter, we see lots of small cameras featuring GPS, even iPhones do it.

    So, all in all, I credit this more to the cumbersomeness that is to geotag your photos taken with DSLR's. If you don't own such devices, you can tag it manually in Lightroom - sometimes a time demanding task and you can't afford to waste this time doing something that could be done automatically and without any intervention. In the end, one wants his photos geotagged, but not if there's a tricky road ahead to achieve this.

    P.S.: I've even lost (forgotten) my GPS receiver while travelling on a train in Switzerland, on the fourth day of my trip - guess if the photos I took on my trip since then got geotags? None of them, I'm in no mood to spent hours geotagging them in LR or trying to guess the places I don't remember with precision.

    Regards,
    Rafael

  • Leopoldo "Leo" García

    August 3, 2012 03:42 am

    Here is a little story that may justify the geotagging argument.
    Follow the link:http://digitalcameraadventures.blogspot.com/2012/08/field-notes-geotagging-of-beetles.html

    Regards

    Leo

  • Leonard Halmrast

    August 3, 2012 03:26 am

    I never Geotagged before, but now I am since I finally have a GPS on my camera. It is something that I had been looking forward to being able to do, now I can! I think it is a great ability to have when out doing landscapes and nature photography.

  • Jerry

    August 3, 2012 02:59 am

    I belong to a camera club and very few of the member know what geotagging is ..... when I explain its purpose, they would like a geotagging device .... however, their camea is not geotag capable or they do not want to spend the money for a good device ..

  • Ed Law

    August 3, 2012 02:40 am

    Darren, I had hoped Canon would add it to the T41 as that seems to be their "trial" along with the 7D, but, NOT .. so I am still unable to easily geotag. I do and use on iPhone and iPad.

    I will, in a heartbeat, if it is added. Canon? easy, all my lenses are for Canons .. can't change ;-)

  • Dan

    August 3, 2012 02:10 am

    As someone mentioned, I find geotagging to be both cumbersome and a waste for anything other than landscape/nature images. As for technology falling behind, I refuse to even consider this... If all DSLR's geotagged, the price of an already expensive camera will just rise higher, AND you'd have to add a data plan or a GPS account like Garmin.

    Personally, I'll leave the tags out and use my existing Garmin to tag my locations instead (when I need to remember a good location).

  • Bikernz

    August 3, 2012 01:38 am

    GeoTagr, an iPhone app, is very good for tagging shots taken on a DSLR although it does add another step to your workflow (Google it for details). I travel a lot and find it very helpful to know where each shot was taken because I might visit several locations in a day. Makes writing my blog easier too.

  • Sergio De Gregorio

    August 3, 2012 01:36 am

    Interesting to see these results but as you are already mentioning, this is more a reflection of how your readers geotagging "segments" have changed.

    You might be reaching a lower end of readers, less specialists.
    Some of these might not even know they've geotagged.. with their smartphones.

  • Pictish Halfling

    August 2, 2012 07:04 am

    While I don't currently own a camera with geotagging capabilities, I do travel to some rather out of the way places (Iran, Syria, Lebanon) and it's extremely helpful to capture location information, for instance when I stop the car in the middle of nowhere to photograph some unidentified ruin.

    Currently I rely on taking a snapshot with my smartphone to record the location, which is a bizarrely cumbersome process, hopefully one day geotagging will be a standard option on all photographic apparatus.

  • Matt Kidd

    July 31, 2012 11:14 am

    I agree with many of the above comments regarding the true nature of the solicited audience; while maybe not the most accurate representation of our photography population, certainly interesting data nonetheless. The simple fact that every major camera manufacturer now offers several GPS camera models is not a coincidence; there is real value to consider here.

    I see geotagging as being marginally useful for certain professional photographers; portrait, landscape, wedding, etc., but for many other photographers it is very useful and becomes a true account of the time and place an image is captured; press photography, marketing, disaster relief, surveillance, etc. And for our casual photographers whether using a smartphone, point-n-shoot or a DSLR, it can be very interesting to see the experience of your travels when viewed on a world map.

    I work with GIS and geotagged images on a daily basis with the military, government and commercial industries where geotagging is more essential for understanding the 'whole' picture. For us, it’s really a matter of capturing the best data possible with every press of the shutter in order to answer the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where and why).

    Not everyone needs this or may even want their photos to be geotagged, but for many others it’s not only fun to look back and know exactly where they were, but may also be critical for job or mission success. Geotagging is very much alive and growing.

  • Leopoldo "Leo" García

    July 30, 2012 10:02 pm

    The cheapest way to place coordenates in your metadata is by getting the info from Google Earth, there are a few advantages to this:

    You can place it in tour keywords along with the date and location. I use Bridge CS4 and its IPTC core to put all the info of my shoots. So you can place accurate or general geolocation data in your template and batch tag all your pictures.

    Its free

    If there is something worth showing you can do a screen capture and place the foto on it as a layer, thus
    enabling you to post an image without any privacy issues.

    Regards

    Leopoldo García Berrizbeitia
    Venezuela

  • David Corona

    July 30, 2012 02:10 pm

    I used to, but I realized that some Web site where offering my flickr images for sale to be used as cellphone wallpapers from particular places based on the data collected from geo tagging.

  • Fonk

    July 30, 2012 12:06 pm

    I just don't see the point. When I download the photos to my PC, I put them in a folder specific to that shoot anyway, which is usually named with the location. I really don't need to specifically geo-tag them to know where they were taken. Of course, photos taken w/ my iPhone are automatically geo-tagged; but then, the random photos I take with my iPhone I also rarely care about outside the moment that I shoot and share (to FB or whatever), so that's moot.

  • Zack Jones

    July 30, 2012 07:41 am

    I tag the vast majority of my shots. I like knowing where the camera was when the shot was taken.

  • Joaniebalonie

    July 30, 2012 02:34 am

    I have a Mac and have a Panasonic Lumix which tags every picture and tells me where the picture was taken. I make movies and slide shows from every major trip I take so it helps me label pictures. I just bought a Rebel but will take my Panasonic and take one picture of every place I go so I can have that info when I return.

  • Richard Linton

    July 30, 2012 01:40 am

    My Nikon D90 does not have it built in nor do I have an attachment. Of course, I am not that keen on the idea to begin with. But if others like it more power to them, this just what I like to do.

    I do some geo tagging but only "after the fact" and only when really needed or desired. I have more fun geo tagging my winter pictures where I am out on a frozen lake. Just a bit of a challenge to find the spot in summer ;-)

    I can see some benefits but I really only see it as a "gee whiz" feature. It does not help me learn new techniques or to critique my images. It just tells me where I was but only within a reasonable distance and in some cases that "error factor" built into GPS systems can mean the difference between a great perspective or a perspective of a tree trunk at 6 inches.

  • Karen

    July 30, 2012 01:14 am

    I always geotag my photos so it interesting to see that I'm in the minority. I started about five years ago. I enjoy hiking, I'm carrying a hand GPS anyway, I figured that I might as well use the data. While it does take time to geotag photos upfront, I think it's a lot easier than trying to caption the photos later.

  • John Martins

    July 30, 2012 12:42 am

    I suppose it depends on personal taste but I don't and never have seen the point. If no one misses geotagging on Ansel Adams' and Edward Weston's photos, I'm confident that no one will miss it on mine.

  • Tony Page

    July 29, 2012 10:48 pm

    Hmm, spelling hasn't improved in three years....!

    Geo-tagging can be very useful for travel photographers, although to be honest I am usually so paranoid about recording locations I rarely find myself needing to refer to it. On the other hand. the potential for mash-ups could be quite attractive for online use - especially if you run a travel site like I do. Something I would like to get into if I ever get the time!

  • Peter Garner

    July 29, 2012 10:00 pm

    I just bought a Prottix Geo One as the price has fallen to a reasonable level: It's half the price of a real Nikon unit and works really well. I'm delighted tht it works with both my D200 and D5000!

    As a "tourist" photographer I love to geotag as it provides me with easy recall as to where I took the picture - a real asset hen you're shooting hundreds if images over the course of a year!

    On a more serious note, if I'm in "photo-journalist mode" it can be extremely useful (maybe even to the police) if I can geotag an incident and transmit the images back to a relevant party: this is becoming a lot easier with devices like the iPad with an SD card reader.

    Finally, if you needed further convincing, the picture caption later in the article, "Hillsides of Peru by Jeff Johnson
    Description: On the road from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo, you will find beautiful scenery" would be made all the richer if you could look up the location on Google Maps/Earth and "explore near here".

  • Mark

    July 29, 2012 08:08 pm

    More people may say they are not geotagging their images these days but I believe that is "consciously geotagging" i.e. importing them into software and adding location data rather than the camera just doing it automatically.

    Anyone taking pictures on a smartphone will automatically be geotagging the images unless they have the location service switched off for the camera. More and more compact cameras now have inbuilt GPS systems for tagging so that's another group added to the pile. So yes, I'd agree that people geotagging images is likely in decline. Machines doing it on their own, now that's a different matter.

  • Daniel

    July 29, 2012 08:07 pm

    Geotagging becomes more transparent. Many modern compacts and all smart phones geotag our pictures without us even realising.

  • Jack Clarfelt

    July 29, 2012 06:43 pm

    The kind of questions I ask myself when taking a photograph are:- how do I feel about the object or situation, what kind of feeling or mood do I get, how do I simplyfy some elements and exaggerate others, how can I identify with the subject matter yet manipulate it into my interpretation. Geotagging is not an answer I have ever come up with or ever think I will.

  • Mridula

    July 29, 2012 05:55 pm

    Somehow it is not too much fun, not worth the bother and if I am uploading from a location I may not like the world to know where exactly I am!

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/

  • Martin

    July 29, 2012 04:10 pm

    And how many people are using the camera on their phone, and it's automatically geotagging the images without them realising it is doing so....?

  • Jeffrey Friedl

    July 29, 2012 03:19 pm

    I think it says more about the influx of new readers than about trends in photography. Take the same poll of all the folks that answered last time, and you'll have your trend.

  • Jeff

    July 29, 2012 08:57 am

    Darren: Setting aside the potential issues with your statistical methods, did you ask what camera they were using as their primary? Given the extreme rise of cell phone camera users, they don't have to actively geotag. The camera is doing it for them, and probably without their knowledge.

  • John

    July 29, 2012 08:23 am

    This is dumb. As an iPhone owner, all my photos are geotagged... the iPhone got me into photography and I bought my first real DSLR the other day, but realized technology in this space is severely lagging behind the times... and I'm guessing so are photographers. It doesn't look like its that easy to geotag like it is on a smartphone.

    I have to ask myself if I should have waited until DSLR equipment matures before I bought... no way I'm paying for some dumb add-on just to get wifi and tagging... and I'll never buy a Samsuck product. (copy cats)

  • Xipha

    July 29, 2012 06:27 am

    I don't have the capability on my camera to geotag, but if I did I would likely only use it for landscapes. Since I shoot primarily portraits I don't see much of a point, unless I were at a remote location I wanted to be able to find it again.

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