Wednesday, March 29, 2006

GPS + Camera + Google Map = Fantastic Field Survey Tool

As reported on Digg.com (and subsequently Dugg all to heck), here is a very cool GPS + Camera combo project. Simple concept; take a camera that supports recording GPS coordinatess in the image Exif data(Exchangeable Image File = like metadata for pictures), hook it up to a GPS, write a script to process the results into XML, put it on a google map. Check out the examples at the creators site.

Although, the idea of a GPS enabled camera has been floating around for a while, this is the first time I have seen productive results in a method that is easily reproducible (thanks to IceBurn's sharing of his Exif data to XML Perl script). Such a technology would be a boom for many types of field survey. Particularly, this tool would be incredibly useful in Historic Resource survey. Unless you are using handheld field data loggers, you are probably heads-up digitizing your locational info from a paper map or even Geocoding addresses. Then, photos needs to be renamed from photologs and plugged into your GIS by any number of ways. With the locationally aware camera, metadata could be associated with each photo via the ability to include Exif data or the GPS units data logger. With a script similar to IceBurn's Perl script, your location and photographic data is one step away from production. I can already hear the client's giddy laughter as the click a link and up come a Google Map with the days survey results published within a half hour of completion.

Stop by IceBurn's liar to check out his Geo-Camera and the great examples he has posted.

Edit: After doing a little searching I found the Richo Pro G3 GPS Camera. Including CF WAAS GPS, Bluetooth, and ESRI ArcGIS software to take care of all the dirty work. Very cool!

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