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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Video: The iPhone’s geo-enabled camera

July 11, 2008

The iPhone’s geo-enabled camera, whether you’ve upgraded to an iPhone 3G with built-in GPS or not, now records the location ((A rough latitude and longitude.)) that the photo was taken.

I have a few problems with the way this has been implemented on the iPhone and also how it works on my Macintosh.  But before I begin bashing Apple – I do want to say that I’m fairly optimistic that other applications will use this feature much better than Apple has.

A few quick notes and then you can watch the video below.  First, the iPhone asks (though I didn’t manage to capture this on “film”) if you’d like to record the location the photo was taken.  It doesn’t say why, how, or where to view this information.  It just asks, you hit ok, and you’re never told about anything ever again.  Second, the iPhone stores the latitude and longitude inside of the file’s meta-data. There is no way to visualize this information on your iPhone.  In fact, photos that are geo-encoded look exactly the same on your iPhone as the photos that are not.  Third, when you import them onto your computer – there is no real way to tell the difference on there either.  I use Image Capture to import, but I also tested iPhoto, and neither application lets me know that the location was recorded (without a little digging).

Here is a quick video demonstration, and I threw in my opinions for those that don’t like to read, of how the iPhone handles things with the camera now.

So there you have it.  Yes the iPhone records this information properly.  But I think the iPhone needs to take advantage of this information in some way to make it valuable to the lay-person, and I also think that iPhoto needs to be updated to support geo-location so that these photos are fun to play with on your computer too.

Anyone know of any iPhone / Macintosh applications that would be fun to play with these photos now?