domingo, octubre 03, 2010

Hacking geotagged images and galleries

Last weekend, I spent some time learning about the GPS tags embedded in the pictures I take with my hacked G1. The specification is called EXIF and allows to record metadata about your JPG/TIFF images or RIFF WAV audio formats.

The overall idea was to tag the pictures so I could present them in a more visual way, like how Flickr does with its maps feature, but without having to use Flickr or Picasa. After some research, I only found an Android based application that would do the trick (for now).

Step 1: First of all, we need to have the pictures geotagged and we can do this operation using Geotag, a multi-platform free software developed in Java. Geotag allows you to load a directory with images and edit the GPS coordinates on a simple way (it uses Google Map). Once all tagged, we need to save them on a folder in the sdcard of the phone.

Step 2: Install GalleryMap for Android and select the directory with your geotagged images. The application has two modes in which it displays the pictures: gallery and map. The map mode uses Google Maps to display an icon where there is a picture to display.

Although I would like to have found a complete solution, preferably to run on a LAMP server, the Android platform will be available in a multitude of tablets during 2011 so we will experience the GalleryMap next year.

The other hack of the week has been the research of image galleries that could help you to visualize your albums online. After some research, I found a couple of galleries worth to use:

- Minishowcase is a free software project that uses PHP to dynamically generate an overview of your albums with thumbnails.

- Exploring the Codrops tutorials, I found a couple of amazing designs that I would definitely use to present some albums. First, the astonishing Thumbnails Navigation Gallery design has the downside that it is coded as a static web page. Another very good design is the FreshSliding Thumbnails Gallery, which is partially dynamic (reads from a directory and creates the album list). For both galleries, you need to manually create thumbnails which can be very time consuming (unless you use a script to resize and crop the images - personally I use GIMP with the batch process module). Finally, also in Codrops I found a gallery designed specifically for smartphones like iPhone or Android-based, Wonderwall Mobile Gallery, that also requires some extra work to generate the thumbnails.

Will keep you posted whenever I finish with my own examples!