Retrospective geotagging and date tagging images

Geotagging can help you find gannets

Geotagging can help you find gannets

Nothing new. Just an idea to retrospectively trawl through our back catalogue and plug in some numbers (or metadata to you geeks).

Te Ara has a lot of still and moving images. Many are of a specific location, and in most the date of the photograph (or film) is known as well. If we gave all these GPS coordinates and dates, then applications such as a layer in Google Earth, or something our clever designers might build, could pull out information.

You can see this in action on Flickr and Google Maps, but their images have little context or historical information. If we were to geotag the resources on Te Ara, the point of difference would be historical images plus credible caption information. Resources could be tagged to something as large as a country, or as small as a city block – as Adrian Holovaty showed us with his EveryBlock presentation at Webstock 09.

While it is probably the Places entries that lend themselves best to this approach, there are plenty of images in other entries that are location-specific. They could be categorised so that art buffs get paintings, history types get history, natural historians get gannets, and random types get random.  You could also filter by black and white, colour, film, paintings, sketches, maps etc. These could also be displayed as tick boxes in an interactive map of a region. If images were dated, you could also filter for particular years.

For example: You are a tourist. Through an application on your mobile phone you have registered as a history geek. Driving along near Tuapeka toward Central Otago, your iPhone tells you that Indian Edward Peters was probably the first discoverer of gold in Otago. When you arrive in Arrowtown it tells you that residents of nearby Macetown had a liberal approach to alcohol. Or, another example, you’re interested in art, and you’re driving on the south coast of Wairarapa. Your phone shows you Kupe’s Sail just in time for you to compare it to the real one.

One problem for geotagging would be identifying the coordinates for many photos – but near enough is good enough. For example, for Edward Peters you could just tag it to a one-kilometre radius of Tuapeka, and a mobile would pick it up within one kilometre of Tuapeka.

It would require a lot of work – someone would need to go through the images and select which ones to use, then plug in the date, latitude and longitude, and categories. But then applications could pull in the data and spit it out in all sorts of new and exciting ways.

3 comments have been added so far

  1. Comment made by Rusty || March 5th, 2009

    Deb Sidelinger on twitter mentioned that Te Ara should think about crowd-sourcing the geo-tagging of the content.

    It sounds like a great way to get through 450+ entries and over 10,000 images.

  2. Comment made by Coln Gruntnub || March 5th, 2009

    Crowd-sourcing sounds ideal. It would work for many images as a place name is given – most often in the short caption. Could we even run an application to trawl through the short captions and allocate geo tags using place names it finds in these? That would save a lot of work – although someone would have to still check them all.

  3. Comment made by EmT || March 13th, 2009

    We are looking at geo-tagging our images on FLICKR. We have a couple of geo-tagged images in Wellington:

    We still have a long way to go, but after the benefits were explained to me, I think it will be worthwhile to do.

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