Geotagging Imagery and Video

IsWHERE is a log of my thoughts, reflections, and news/blog links on the emergence of image and video geospatial tagging. On May5th this year, I opened a second blog to deal with more detailed aspects of tools for FalconView and TalonView can be found at RouteScout. Trends I want to try and follow are the various disruptions resulting from spatial smart-phones, how many GPS devices are out there, smart-cameras, and other related news. And yes, I have a business interest in all of this. My company Red Hen has been pioneering this sort of geomedia for more than a decade.

So beyond a personal blog, I also provide a link to IsWHERE a shareware tool created by Red Hen Systems to readily place geoJPEG or geotagged imagery and soon GEM full motion media kept on your own computer(s) into Google Earth/Map from your File Manager media selection. Works great for geotagged images from Nikon, Ricoh, Sony, iPHONE, Android and all geo-smartphones that can create geotagged images. IsWhere - read about it

IsWhere Free Download (XP and VISTA)


IsWhere Visitors

Monday, December 25, 2006

ISDE5 - aka International GeoTaggers Conference?

Calling all photo-geographers, geo-photographers, and pointographers!!

The "earth first" potential of the NASA/Google alliance takes on additional significance given the wide blog-o-sphere announcement of the International Symposium on Digital Earth get-together in San Francisco in this coming June.

On June 5th 2007, the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE5) will open in the Bay Area of San Francisco, California, USA. The symposium will span four days and will address a broad national and international audience across a spectrum of industry, academic, government, and citizen attendees. All individuals who share a common interest in the concept of a digital Earth are urged to participate and attend. The Digital Earth vision embraces a philosophy that any citizen of the planet, linked through the Internet, should be able to freely access a virtual world of information and knowledge resources.

This philosophy supports the dream of ubiquitous education for the people of the planet. A rich convergence of technological advances, active visionaries, and recognition of the paramount need for humans to better understand the Earth and its systems comprises the character and history of this dynamic and exciting enterprise.

This international vision encompasses the virtual and 3-D representation of the earth with vast amounts of scientific, natural, and cultural information that is partially referenced and interconnected with digital knowledge archives from around the planet to describe and understand the Earth, its systems, and human activities.

The Digital Earth community is dedicated to building a virtual global commons to promote "down to Earth" solutions supported by cooperative web-based protocols using standards, databases, analytical and visualization tools that will foster the creation of appropriate applications for a sustainable future. A consortium of global experts founded the International Society for Digital Earth in 2006 to promote the evolution and implementation of the Digital Earth vision.

5th International Symposium on Digital Earth

ISDE5 Nominations

I would like to nominate two candidates that should be IMHO noted contributors to the "down to earth"contributions.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility
(with Google Earth bio-mash)

The GBIF GE Bio-Mash - or where are all those critters?/

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility is building a Internet accessible link to literally millions of "specimens". Most of the world's biologic diversity is located in the developing regions where as the dominate archive of those bio-diverse regions are held within developed nations. Essentially the GBIF is geotagging as much of the known via Google Earth. Put a time line on the collection and its classification and patterns may emerge? Give a HOOT! Don't pollute!

Good managers of natural resources and policy-makers know that their best decisions are based on results from the most accurate scientific analyses. Such analyses are based on solid, documentable data that have been recorded directly from the observation of nature. Such records are called 'primary' data. Biodiversity is a handy, one-word name for all the species on the Earth, the genetic variety they possess, and the ecological systems in which they participate. Another way of thinking about biodiversity is as the 'living resources' portion of 'natural resources'.

A large part of the primary data on biodiversity are the 1.5 - 2.0 billion specimens held in natural history collections, as well as many geographical and ecological observations recorded by various means and stored in various media. In making living resource policy and management choices, decision-makers are often forced to rely on analyses that are not based on primary data. This is because the world's store of primary data about biodiversity is not at present readily and easily accessible.

Biodiversity is found around the world - there are micro-organisms between granules of rock 3 km below the Earth's surface, rootless plants in the Atacama Desert, thousands of species of beetles in a single rain forest tree. However, biodiversity is not distributed evenly across the face of the planet. An estimated 75% of all species are found in the developing world.

Information about biodiversity (natural history collections, library materials, databases) likewise is not distributed evenly around the globe. Three-quarters or more of data about biodiversity are stored in the developed world. However, most of the data that may be needed can't be transferred because either they are not digitised, or capacity to handle digital information is lacking, or both. Facilitating digitisation and global dissemination of primary biodiversity data, so that people from all countries can benefit from the use of the information, is the mission of the (GBIF).

Conservation Air Patrol
(With National Geographic geotagged images)

Conservation Air Patrol

My second nominee group, the Conservation Air Patrol, transverses Africa counting animals, documenting environmental degradation, and from what I hear swatting flies while getting the job done. Read about then add the National Geographic "MegaFlyover" to your Google earth via National Geographic and Wildlife Conservation Societies, “MegaFlyover. This team plus National Geographic should be considered as enabling one of the original Mash-up".

Monday, December 18, 2006

Google and NASA - geoTagging via GE just gets better

NASA and Google to Bring Space Exploration Down to Earth
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif., Dec. 18
/PRNewswire/ --

NASA Ames Research Center and Google have signed a Space Act Agreement that formally
establishes a relationship to work together on a variety of challenging technical problems ranging from large-scale data management and massively distributed computing, to human-computer interfaces.

As the first in a series of joint collaborations, Google and Ames will focus on making the most useful of NASA's information available on the Internet. Real-time weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3- D maps of the moon and Mars, real-time tracking of the International Space Station and the space shuttle will be explored in the future.

"This agreement between NASA and Google will soon allow every American to experience a virtual flight over the surface of the moon or through the canyons of Mars," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin at Headquarters in Washington. "This innovative combination of information technology and space science will make NASA's space exploration work accessible to
everyone," added Griffin. "Partnering with NASA made perfect sense for Google, as it has a wealth of technical expertise and data that will be of great use to Google as we look to tackle many computing issues on behalf of our users," said Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google. "We're pleased to move forward to collaborate on a variety of technical challenges through the signing of the Space Act Agreement."

Recently, teams from NASA and Google met to discuss the many challenging computer science problems facing both organizations and possible joint collaborations that could help address them. NASA and Google intend to collaborate in a variety of areas, including incorporating agency data sets in Google Earth, focusing on user studies and cognitive modeling for human computer interaction, and science data search utilizing a variety of Google features and products.

"Our collaboration with Google will demonstrate that the private and public sectors can accomplish great things together," said S. Pete Worden, Ames center director. "I want NASA Ames to establish partnerships with the private sector that will encourage innovation, while advancing the Vision for Space Exploration and commercial interests," Worden added.
"NASA has collected and processed more information about our planet and universe than any other entity in the history of humanity," said Chris C. Kemp, director of strategic business development at Ames. "Even though this information was collected for the benefit of everyone, and much is in the public domain, the vast majority of this information is scattered and
difficult for non-experts to access and to understand. "We've worked hard over the past year to implement an agreement that enables NASA and Google to work closely together on a wide range of innovative collaborations," said Kemp. "We are bringing together some of the best research scientists and engineers to form teams to make more of NASA's vast information accessible."

NASA and Google also are finalizing details for additional collaborations that include joint research, products, facilities, education and missions. Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Google is headquartered close to Ames in Silicon Valley with offices through the Americas, Europe and

For more information about Google, please visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs, please visit:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Geotaggers Classifications?

The Homesteading GIS'ers
GIS-centric scientists that use spatial imagery and videography for photogametry calculation, cartographic illustration of spatial relationships and landscape textures and context. The utility is project intensive with complex spatial presentations integrating many complex GIS layers and background imagery. Requires GIS skills and ESRI-like softwares and sciences.

The Enterprise Opportunity
Media-centric innovators designing utility within enterprises; sometimes providing geotagged media as services to enterprise requirements. Supported by budgeted programs and in-situ platforms with emphasis on spatial data normalization, compression, and archive redundancy. Streamlining of complex media collections for enterprise utility. Requires repeatable mission, rationalization of the corporate data dictionary, a dedicated team and processing center.

Pointography Ignition
Point and shoot pointography: A pointographer is an individual who uses a cheap point-and-shoot camera, while having the courage and dignity or lack-off rather... to call him/her-self a photographer ( Web-centric ease of use anywhere, anytime, by anyone and everyone including mashing-up spatial image sharing. Business model to construct around a peer to peer sharing of geotagged material.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Camera Phone Domination and Photo-tagging

I have hunted around the blogo-sphere and have not really found anyone pealing back the onion on the macro trends of digital imagery. So here goes... sweeping commentary and a few links that may confirm the issues.

The single most important idea you need to agree to: once camera phones gets more than 2-3 mega pixels resolution they (will) take over the role of digital cameras for most applications and users. BUT, the argument goes camera phones still are in need of better a lens. Well that too is coming in the next year likely.

Interesting almost factoid - for a huge portion of the world, the first camera they ever will own will be integrated into their mobile phone.

Why is this important? Well for those just now getting involved with the industry of digital cameras and its total disruption of film and chemical photography, the camera phone is truly the disruptive technology that is killing analog cameras... other than disposables, and is poised to do the same to most forms of digital cameras as well. Hence the better lensed SLR designs that are going to be gift choices this season?

The big picture?

IMHO I think the group over at Future Imaging have pretty much nailed back in 2004 the unfolding macro/vision of what is really going on. The graph above is one of theirs and suggests two critical cross-overs.

The BIG DEAL first happened around mid-year 2003 when digital cameras on a units basis out sold film cameras - a non-Kodak moment as well! The other less well known event occurred when camera phones jumped over digital cameras but that went un-noticed as the images from the first camera phones really sucked - they still do in most cases. So what now? As we approach 2007, the Future Images group had the concept but missed the actual numbers by only 100 percent... Gosh it wasn't 350 million is was 800 camera phones!

The Lycra Research Group re-confirmed imagery industry disruption this past July when they published these next two graphs. They were a bit more forgiving in that their industry survey suggests that digital cameras only this past summer exceeded film cameras... (I guess that gave Kodak a bit more wiggle room?). But they too deliver the same message - camera phones simply will dominate.

Ok, now you are on to it. But the industry remains in turmoil. Back in 2004 I was able to watch Kodak joke and squirm with HP in that they too wished they could produce printer cartridges... a replacement for chemicals, films and special papers. So out came kiosks and "digital print centers" to get you and your memories on paper! NOT!!

So the last concept you need for this moment is to digest what the "image sharing" web sites are now doing to kiosks and print centers... Here is a rule of thumb to carry around.

According to Webshots (400 million images on their system - 17 million users - sharing around 85 percent of their images) out of 100,000 uploaded images under 1000 are printed. Active sharing rules...

Oh, and without "tagging" most shared images are useless?

That enough to get me in trouble so ...


MidNight Mapper

Monday, December 04, 2006

GeoTagging Tourism

Dr Joe Berry dropped an interesting "photo-map-lett" on my desk today - geoTagging Tourism. The idea is to create, in this case, a resort "photo-map" of places within the resort and those adajacent so that guests can both find and see what might be available. The result is suggested below and is a HTML page generated by MediaMapper.

This example, a resort in the Southwest, was created by a walk-around geo-pointograher (non-professional point-and-shootist with GPS) and then assembled in MediaMapper. The images were geotagged and organized into two general groups: day-shots (red dot) and night-shots (black-dot). The black and white background imagery comes from Microsoft's Terraserver USA and the color block clipped from Google Earth and added/reqistered with in MediaMapper (this might be a strech on the GE license?). Some instructions were added and then the HTML generated.

Total time from start to posting the HTML - likley an hour or two no more - including the walk-about. Value to the resort - maybe not priceless but still valuable if seasonality or specialized content for a group's venue counts?

The resulting web page provides both tumb-nail and map cross-reference: click on a map point and the image is identified; click on an image and its placement is highlighted. Try the link above!

MicroSoft TerraServer USA -

Google Earth -

Mediamapper -

Dr Joe Berry -

Saturday, December 02, 2006

More on Geotagging Statistics

"Every picture has its place" is the conceptual base from which geotagging provides an index to imagery. When you approach Fickr to see the "where are" all those millions of images, you don't get much of a picture or a map. The Flickr map above should show the distribution of all ~7.8 million images as of today. It does not.

What this map of all geotagged images (7.8 million plus) displays are recent additions aggregated by a clustering solution that operates at all scales of the Yahoo map. You do not get any feel for where all that imagery is - Flickr's world-wide image distribution?

When you change the scale by zooming in on a region of interest, the visualization of the image clusters becomes more refined. In this case, Big Bend National Park there is a central cluster marked as "Lots".... Man, is this slow. It works but its slow... lots of spatial sorting going on.

Zooming in again.... centered on the "Lots" cluster you now find yet another cluster set.

Yep, I am starting to get a feel for what might be going on. The zooming and panning control are really not well organized IMHO - slider bars simply suck. Waiting, waiting... slow!
Doesn't really do much for me.. you need to change the scale to get intimate with the positional excitement.

I am now zoomed in as close as Flickr can go. The central image cluster I am most interested in can now be found and selected. Yes, I get images and in this case they are all from a single author.

Maybe a mash-up might help? Lets try something more GIS-like?

Back in mid-September a Beau Gunderson used ArcGIS and a world-wide grid to count Flickr images with-in each grid area. Each grid was then grouped as to the total count and shaded according to the aggregate count in each individual grid. This created a 'choropleth" map. Its a visual statistic of ~2.5 million Flickr images where the more yellow grids have the higher counts of Flickr images falling in them. (see for the KML down load. Lets hope Beau runs an up date +5 million images later?)
What happens when we zoom in on Big National Park? Wow, this is fast...

Hmmmm, yep I see the park boundary but the Park is bisected by two grids - one counting 700+ images and the other only 30+ or so. The grid "resolution" breaks down at this scale. The label on the choropleth map certainly shows the aggregate count and is really fast but it needs a finer grid to help sort out where the pictures of interest are. Also the colorization/class by gird should indicate grid count difference but it does not. It's also out-of-date. Bummer!

What I am trying to lead you to is that there are two methods to providing a visual statistic that IMHO will be used to help organize the millions and soon billions of geotagged images being shared. One is more precise, the Flickr cluster method, and the second is far faster but has both a currency lag as well as break-down of visual comparison that fails at a larger scale when its grid and its classification do not fit a finer resolution requirement.

"Vector is more corrector... but raster is faster" ... GIS insight from Dr. Joe Berry (

Friday, December 01, 2006

Geotagging Statistics

Was curious about the "total count" progress for geotagging imagery. Trying to find direct counts as well as proxies. I went through my notes and here are some quick observations.

Flickr started formally "geotagging" images on or about the 28th of August. They suggest they have around 300 million images; all in around 7.8 million are geo tagged as of the end of November 2006.

August 28th - the start - assume 0
August 29th - 1.234,284 million
September 9th - around 2.5 million
November 20th - 7.340,532 million
December 1st - 7.848,101 million

On average this works out to around 80,000 images per day for 93 days or so... seems to be declining a bit from one million per day at opening to a bit over 50k in recent days. Still a heap.

Also ran on to a stat from WebShots... they have around 397,000,000 images as of end of November. They have quite a good geographical organization in that there is a long list of images organized by goeraphical name - but no obvious map yet...

Kodak's Easyshare is rumored to be approaching a billion total images. Nothing obvious as to location though but I have not spent much time digging into what they are doing.

Zooomr is also hunting the geotagger. The have an interestig map up but just now it was a bit jammed..

Any other insights to the geotagging of imagery?