Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Tip For Adding Geotagged Photos To ArcGIS Online Webmaps

Recently someone asked if they could add geotagged photos to their ArcGIS Online maps using the map viewer or ArcGIS Explorer Online. Currently these are not directly supported, but here's a way I found to add them using an intermediate step or two.

Geotagged photos have all you need to add them stored in the EXIF formatted data in the image. And ArcGIS Online webmaps support adding features to your map via a CSV file. It's easy to open a photo in a pop-up window from some Web location. With all that in mind, the only challenge was to find an easy way to extract the XY coordinates and get everything into a CSV file.

My plan was to copy the geotagged photos to some Web location, and create a CSV file with both the XY coordinates and the URL of each photo. If I could manage that, I could simply drag-and-drop (or import) the file onto my map to add points, and configure the pop-up for each point to display the photo.

After some Web searching I found a solution from BRSoftware called EXIFextracter. It's currently in beta with a final release coming soon, and a pro version also coming up on the horizon. After downloading and installing it I found it to be just the ticket for my needs. I could point to a folder of geotagged photos, choose what information I wanted to extract from each photo, and export the information directly to a CSV file including the filename. Great!

Here's the EXIFextracter dialog for choosing the folder, output CSV, and data:

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I tried this on several folders containing geotagged images, and the export worked perfectly. The only complaint I had is that I would have liked to see the field names in the first row for the data I extracted, but they were easy enough to add. Another minor issue was that some of the data I chose came across as empty or otherwise unrecognizable, though to be fair the photos were a combination of in-camera geotagged files of various vintages and some photos that were geotagged using other utilities.

A couple of other things that I did - I copied the photos to a URL location, and also edited the CSV file to add the URL location for each file. Here's my edited CSV with the first row containing field names and the updated file locations, lat/long, and date stamp following:

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From there, I just dragged and dropped the CSV file onto my map, and configured the pop-up to display the photo from its URL location. Here's the photos in my map (shown using Explorer Online):

(click to view larger image)

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