2005-07-10

Pinpoint Accurate Photos

We recently took a vacation to Alaska. One of the greatest things about it was that 5 of us on the trip had digital cameras, and we used them. In all we gathered nearly 2000 still images that do a fantastic job of capturing the beauty of the terrain and the fun we had. The problem lies in making sense of all of those photos.

Writing code for a living, I'm well aware of "garbage in - garbage out". Unfortunately, this concept applies to far more than computer software. Of those 5 cameras firing off images for over a week, only 2 of them had proper dates set in them, and none of them were adjusted to the local time zone. So what? Well, now that I have the power of iPhoto's Smart Albums, I want to be able to sort the pictures by location, and without useful geocoding of those images (we'll talk more about that later), I'd like to rely on the timestamp and my own knowledge of where we were on that day to sort out the pictures. Since I now have a few hundred pictures that think they were captured in 2047, I'm going to have to figure out the power of Automator to fix that metadata. So my first wish for more accurate picture taking is cameras that can auto-set their own date and time.

Next up, location, location, location. By no means is this an original idea, but I want GPS enabled cameras! Built in is great. Bluetooth enabled cameras so that I can use an external Bluetooth GPS is fantastic too. I'd even be happy with a manual setting on the camera where I could pull up a map and point to where I was. That location would then be assigned to the photos. The software could have a setting of "Expire location after 1 day" to prevent false location data for pictures you'd take later.

We're starting to see products that do this. Ricoh has a GPS ready camera, and Mappr! is the start of just what I'm wanting.

My second wish for more accurate picture taking is location based Smart Albums in iPhoto. These would be both assignable, and searchable in iPhoto. To assign, you could select a group of photos and choose "Assign Location". Hopefully that would bring up a selection of methods for assigning location including an Atlas, Google Maps, whatever. You'd also be able to browse based on the location. Certainly Apple could create some slick panning map that would zoom photos up as you passed over the location. They could also make Spotlight smart enough to translate location names in to geocoded locations. That way, I can search for "Chicago" and get pictures of a Cubs game without having to tag the photos manually.

I don't know about the rest of you, but iLife was one of the major draws to get me away from Windows. If Apple continues to step it up and deliver features like these, I see even more switchers.

1 comment:

-- I said...

I've made the decision that I'm not buying another camera until GPS is built in. If camera makers want my money, that's what I need. I'll have to check out that Richo one.

-- I