What is Geotagging Software?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Geotagging software is software that adds location data to the metadata associated with a video or image. This data tells people where the image was taken, if they have the capability to read the metadata. There are a number of geotagging software products available on the market, including freeware and shareware versions. Many of these are designed to interface with photo management software and online photo and file sharing services, providing a variety of functions for the user.

Man holding a globe
Man holding a globe

Geographic location can be inserted into the metadata in a number of ways. Some software works with a global positioning system (GPS) device that can be synchronized with a camera. While people take pictures, the GPS logs the location, and the geotagging software can synch the data up later to automatically tag images with their locations. This type of geotagging software is useful for people who take large volumes of pictures and would find it challenging to tag by hand.

Other software allows people to enter GPS coordinates, a zip code, or a city name, and can also allow visitors to geotag images by dragging them onto a location on a map. Images may be tagged individually or the software may permit batch editing so that people can work with large groups of pictures at once. People can also add location notes with some geotagging software programs.

There are a number of ways to use geotagged images. Online, people can make it easier to find images relevant to other users by geotagging them. When someone runs a search for a specific region, images taken there will come up. The ability to access all publicly tagged images in a location can be a powerful tool for everything from finding more pictures of an event to using pictures to collect evidence for law enforcement.

Photographers may also find it helpful to keep records of where pictures were taken for organizational reasons and to ensure that they can keep track of photos years after the fact. Someone taking a trip may take numerous pictures and five years in the future, it can be difficult to remember where and when images were taken. By accessing the metadata, people could look for pictures taken in a specific place, at a particular time, or with a certain camera. Photo management software usually provides tools that allow people to work with the metadata for the purpose of organizing photographs in ways that are meaningful for them.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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