diamond geezer

 Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Geoblogging
"It would be nice if you would supply a map for your walks. I tried to follow you on www.streetmap.co.uk while you were walking but failed..." [Sekula]
"You thought of geoblogging the pics?" [Phill]
I know it's a bit late but, ever one to oblige, I thought I'd investigate how easy it is to forge a blogger's bond between photography and geography. And it's possible, but it's not easy. Here are some methods you could try.

Geoblogging: Want to know where a particular flickr photograph was taken? Geoblogging has the answer. All you do is add a couple of "geotags" (i.e latitude and longitude) to each photo so that viewers can identify the precise location of each shot. Instructions for adding the appropriate tags are here (thanks Ollie, that's the clearest explanation I've seen), and Multimap is brilliant for calculating the decimal latitude and longitude of any pinpointed location in the UK. To see Geoblogging in action there's a large collection of geotagged London photos here, and someone else's geotagged photo of the Hoover Building here [geo:lat=51.533417] [geo:lon=-0.318924]. The really ingenious bit happens when you click on the "GeoTagged" link in the description beneath the photo. Try it. Wait a while and a map of west London will open up showing the precise location of the shot and all the other photos taken in the surrounding neighbourhood. It's an extremely clever marriage of flickr and Google Maps to stunning interactive effect.
I've now geoblogged all of my Go West photos. This task took me a couple of hours to complete, mainly because the tags were rather fiddly, but I'm extremely pleased with the results. Click here (please do, it's really clever) to see the location of each of my 40 photographs strung out across London from east to west. You can even zoom in on the map to see my route in even more detail. See, I really was walking in a straight line. Dead impressive.

Geograph: The whole of the UK has been divided up into 1km grid squares by the Ordnance Survey, and it's the ambition of the Geograph website to collect at least one photo for each and every square. They've covered just over 5% of the country already, which may not sound much but it's pretty impressive when you consider there are a quarter of a million UK squares altogether. The towns and cities are filling up first, and you can keep track of everything on this handy UK map (zoom in until you find the square you want). Adding a new photo is a fairly simple operation (compared to geoblogging it's a breeze), just so long as you remember how four figure grid references work. Have a go at submitting a photo here.
I've geographed my Hoover Building shot (see it here), although other people had already beaten me to most of the grid squares further east across central London so I was just left to mop up the area around Bow instead.

Mappr: Great for Americans, not much use in the UK yet.
Memory Maps: These are satellite photos saved as flickr images and then annotated. Here's one of Steve's, and here are lots.
Degree Confluence Project: For photographs of those extra special spots on earth where lines of latitude and longitude meet (for example in a cowshed in Hampshire). Fantastic site.
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