Geotagging, RSS, and Photography

An article in today’s New York Times, “Pictures, With Map and Pushpin Included,” (registration required), talks about the increasing use of “geotagging” (see my June 17, 2005, post, “Geotagging“) in home photography. What is interesting is that Sony now has a small GPS unit designed to integrate with your camera’s EXIF data — so once you’ve taken your pictures and gone home, you can download both the pictures and your GPS data into your computer and merge them.
Flickr, of course, lets you manually add GPS data, and there are rumors — with some evidence to back them up — that Apple’s iPhoto has some currently-inactive code to integrate GPS data in iPhoto with Google Maps.
So what I’d like someone to do is this. Build a search tool that lets you look for pictures of the same place you took a memorable or significant picture. Then, sign up for an RSS feed for that location — that will deliver other people’s photos to you as they are taken. Curious to see a particular park where you used to play? Want to see the view inside a ballpark on different days? In a sense, this would be a webcam with highly irregular postings. This would also a way to link you — to build a community of a different kind — to other people who just might have more in common than having been in the same place at a different time.

3 thoughts on “Geotagging, RSS, and Photography”

  1. You used to ahve the ability to get a RSS feed off of a tag search in Flickr, so if you were lookig for Fenway Park photos, it was fairly easy, but it looks like that functionality is no longer available. You do get a URL that looks like you might possibly be able to turn into a feed, but my first and only attempt at doing something like that was a miserable failure, so I will elave that up to more nimble minds.
    The Flickr photo search API does let you put in geographic variables to limit your search so you could capture all photos within a set area which would be pretty neat if you wanted to see all photos in a specific neighborhood, sorta a “radius” search for photos which is pretty cool.
    So, the functionality is there, so it seems like a couple of people could hack this together.

  2. One way to to this is to use a GeoRSS aggregator like mapufacture. It works by taking a feed of geo-tagged RSS items, and automatically builds a searchable map for you. If you want to find events in a particular area, the “Search Feeds” page allows you to pick an area on a map and find all items in that area. It probably needs a bit of work to be usable. For example, it should allow you to search within specific sets of feeds, and should handle large sets of results better.
    I believe that Flickr can generate GeoRSS feeds, but the real advantage is that GeoRSS is completely general, and doesn’t require the use of vendor-specific APIs.
    If you use a system like GeoPress, then individual blog posts can be geo-tagged, which allows them to be searchable by these kinds of aggregators.

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