Written by Haley Jones
“Geotagging” is something that happens automatically to many of the photos we take, and we may not even realize it. If a photo has been geotagged it simply means that there is location information stored in the picture’s metadata – the picture knows where it was taken! Photos taken with a smart phone or tablet, or a GPS-enabled camera will inherently have this information.
So then, what is the best way to store and use these geotagged photos? And how can we add geotags to photos that weren’t taken with a smart device?
Luckily for us, a really useful photo-sharing platform already exists that will host and organize loads of pictures for free. It’s called Flickr! Aside from storing, organizing and sharing our photos, Flickr is a very useful tool for geotagging photos that do not already have location information embedded in them. In fact, according to my research, Flickr actually invented the term geotagging, so they must know what they’re doing!
How to geotag photos in Flickr
It’s really easy. FYI, Flickr allows us to browse pictures in a map view. We can see where our own pictures were taken, or if we want to see pictures of a particular location, we can go to that spot on the map and see all public-shared pictures of that location.
When uploading pictures that already contain location information, Flickr will automatically allow us to look at them in a map view. However, if we’d like to geotag a photo that doesn’t already have a location then there is an option to “add the photo to your map.” This opens up a map where you can manually make a pin drop of where the picture was taken, or search for the location. Flickr will then display a point on the map that shows where that particular photo was taken, and just like that it has been geotagged!
Now, how can we utilize Flickr’s geotagged photos for use in our interactive maps?
We have many options, here are a couple:
Did somebody say mashup? There is a Flickr API. This is a great option for developers. The Flickr API seems very useful for incorporating location based photos into an interactive map. I’d love to elaborate further on this, but it’s a bit beyond my scope right now.
However, here’s something interesting! We can incorporate geotagged photos in Flickr into AGOL’s Story Maps. Here is how to do so using the Story Map template called “Story Map Tour”:
Add Geotagged Photos to Your Web Map
We can also place geotagged photos directly from Flickr onto our AGOL map viewer by adding a link to a KML file (the same way we would add a data layer from the web by pasting in a URL). Then, photos from our Flickr stream automatically populate on the map. They show up in a thumbnail view, hovering over their appropriate locations. Here’s a video:
How to Add Flickr Photos to AGOL Map Viewer