back to article Nokia starts tagging photos

Nokia Beta labs has released an application for tagging photographs with GPS coordinates, with a view to embedding the technology into future versions of the S60 platform. However, few seem to realise that Nokia handsets are already tagging their pictures with a country of origin deduced from the cell location. Digital …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already in other phones

    My Eten Goldfiiiiiish already does this...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "You really really *really* need this"

    "The quantity of photographs that one can take with a digital camera has made sorting them into an impossible task"

    Spoken like a true press release - I'm sure I've never had too big a problem with tagging my pictures appropriately, and the speed of this process certainly won't be improved by being able to look up the subject's location on Google Earth. If I can't work out what the picture was just by looking at it, then I'm obviously doing it wrong..

  3. Tim Lake
    Thumb Up

    Memory issues

    "like all good Symbian apps it shuts itself down when memory is low"

    This is becoming much less of a problem since Symbian started using demand paging. For example, the latest N95 (classic) firmware, v20, includes demand paging and this allows the location tagger to run alongside several other background apps and the camera without running out of memory.

  4. John Bayly
    Thumb Up

    Very nice.

    I've been wanting this for a while since I realised my phone had an NMEA parser in it. Just tried it and it's seems pretty good. Unfortunately Google Earth doesn't parse the exif gps info when you load it.

  5. Ash

    Viable use

    Embed the data into videos so we can google map Chav's happy-slapping passers-by and go beat seven shades of shit out of them.

  6. Chris O'Shea
    Thumb Up

    @AC doesn't get out enough ...

    "I'm sure I've never had too big a problem with tagging my pictures appropriately.... If I can't work out what the picture was just by looking at it, then I'm obviously doing it wrong.."

    Last year I spent three weeks touring Japan, taking approximately 9,000 photos ... after a while one temple looks like another ... but I also took a GPS data logger with me, and by matching time stamps I can find out where I was when I took each of those photos. It's been a total godsend.

    Sure if you're at the LedZep gig at the O2 and need to have a GPS fix to tell you where you are, you're probably enjoying the wacky-baccy too much, but if you do a lot of travelling (or are taking photos for an estate agent or surveying building sites etc.) then having the location of the picture available is of far more use than storing what camera took the picture (which *is* in the EXIF data)

    And yes, sometimes it's really amsuing to know which camera you used too ...

  7. W
    Dead Vulture

    I am disgusted by El Reg and remo^H^H^H^H de-tagging you from my

    "The quantity of photographs that one can take with a digital camera has made sorting them into an impossible task".

    PR BS

    What's wrong with "YYYY-MM-DD - Brief Descritption" for yer photos?

    Tagging my PCs files just hasn't captured my imagination yet. I'm much more the "place for everything" type. Folder heirarchys are sufficient for almost every task and are surely swifter to maintain as long as they're set up properly. They look after themselves.

    Having said that, I've let tagging take over for my email (Gmail) and Bookmarks ( to a certain extent. And Gmail works quite well cos it's based on text searches. But I apply an almost riged "one label per email" system, so the label/tags are effectively folders anyway.

    I miss my bookmarks being in a heirarchy format. Heirarchy tends to 'Just Work' compared to tagging. With tagging you have to think of, or apply, a few (syntactically identical) tags for each file, but with a heirarchy you just throw the file into it's alloted hole.

    It's a classic Left vs Right side of the brain debate...

  8. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)


    Whuz gng 2 bthr? Nlss U hv QWERTY kbd, taggn 2,000 snapz = TOTL P8N.

    Jobs 4 Boys at NOK LABS LOL.

  9. Chris O'Shea

    @W - tagging vs heirarchy

    I can't believe I'm having to type this (ok, I don't *have* to type this but ... )

    I have pictures taken at the Cambridge Folk Festival every year for the last six or seven years, different bands each year, but many of the same friends there. I have pictures taken at the Cropredy Folk Festival for the last 8 years, different bands most years, many of the same friends each year (with small overlap of friends from Cambridge). I also have pictures of those same friends at other events (non-festival)

    So now I want to find my pictures of, say, The Dubliners, or my friend Alison, or of pretty sunsets, or of food stalls at folk festivals ... what single heirarchy allows me to find those quickly?

    There isn't one, photos need tags.

  10. Dam

    Re: Gr8t!

    You are now officially granted the right to get out of the office and enjoy your weekend.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    oh please!

    An area for GPS coordinates has been in the EXIF standard for at least 6 years. You don't like it? I don't know about other software, but GIMP will delete EXIF headers if you ask it to.

    With GPS receivers in mobiles, it's about damn time they started using it. It's very nice for tagging stuff on my bike trips.

    I just wish REAL cameras had it.

  12. W

    @ Chris O'Shea

    I understand the point you're making. And it's a completely fair one. But all that tagging is a big ol' pain.

    Professional photo stock librarys of 1000s of images that need to be frequently searched and sorted are an example of the tagging system being used well. And it sounds like you take a fair few snaps, so I can see some merit in tagging in your circumstances.

    But if you're that fussed about having a specific "Dubliners" or "Alison" folder it won't be such a chore to do a quick scan through your albums to find the relevant photos, make a copy of 'em, and bung 'em in a folder called "Dubliners" or "Alison".

    Yes, it's quicker to do a tag search for "Dubliners" or "Alison" but I wouldn't have thought that everyday Nokia snappers need to complete such a task very often so tagging is the more labour intensive option, overall.

    And a major part of enjoying photos is going back to them in discrete chronological batches and just browsing through rather than a clinical business-like search for all the photo's I've ever taken of "lanscapes", or indeed, "Alison".

    Different strokes for different folks(onomy), I guess.

    If it wasn't already the case, it's Friday. 5pm. And coat time. Ta-ra.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    @ Chris O Shea

    damn... and i thought i was a hippy with 5 years of big green gathering photos :D

    mine's the bio degradable one, woven from wicker

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    If a photo's worth taking, it's worth splashing out on a proper decent camera.

  15. Richard Stubbs
    Thumb Down

    Nokia connecting people

    Nokia connecting people - well stalkers and peodo's anyhow, a few uploaded pics on facebook of you in your backgarden, they will soon know where you live, and don't forget your friendly local pedo who's taken a shine to your daughter who's put pics of herself and her school friends on-line.

  16. Andy Hards
    Thumb Up

    What's wrong etc

    As one porter has already mentioned, if you take a lot of pictures it can really help. I was in West Africa last year and took loads of pics and was pleasantly surprised to see that due to the Lifeblog thing the whole thing was so so so much easier when it came to catalogueing. It worked even though I couldn't use the phone to make/receive calls as I'm with 3 and they don't (or didn't at the time) have a partner there. Still don't know how it worked it all out as the phone was in offline mode the whole time I was there. Great feature!

  17. Solomon Grundy

    @Andrew Orlowski

    Someone call the Dr! Andrew Orlowski has suffered a stroke and needs immediate medical attention.

  18. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    OK, I'll translate

    Once upon a time there was a company called Nokia, which grew rich and successful and popular because it took technology that was complicated and unreliable and made it very simple and easy to use, and very reliable.

    Every Nokia product was better than the one it succeeded.

    The financial markets didn't like this success, and said it was a fluke, and predicted that Nokia would soon lose its way, because competitors could do something just as good, only cheaper. Especially if these competitors were in Asia, and had lower labour costs.

    But Nokia ignored this advice, and grew and grew. Soon, Nokia was the envy of the world, and one of only two consumer electronics companies on the planet - Sony was the other one - that could both set standards and deliver them successfully to many millions of users, all over the world.

    And people liked Nokia, because their products were better every year. Business partners liked Nokia, because they created markets like ringtones, which gave royalties back to the music business, that made them richer. And network operators liked Nokia, because it was a sign that here was technology that was simple and reliable, and that worked, and that made them richer too.

    Then, one day, some Californians came to Nokia. Their own internet technology hadn't made anyone much money - it had made the music business much poorer, and network operators poorer still; these internet network operators were going bust just trying to deliver it. And as for the customers - they hated every damn tacky bit of the network they used - Windows and Intel. It just wasn't reliable - and seemed to get worse every year.

    But the Californians had a brilliant idea. They invented a Religion, and they persuaded Nokia that unless Nokia followed their Religion, they too would go bust.

    And Nokia suddenly saw a blinding Flash of Light, and in that instant, forgot everything that had made it succesful - and made its business partners successful - and made customers like Nokia phones so much.

    So Nokia had to follow the Religion, and pray every day to the Californians, that it was doing the right thing.

    Soon Nokia Labs were full of people who didn't really know what they were doing at all.

    These people didn't understand what customers wanted, or what made business partners share in the wealth, so they ran around in a panic saying things like "Social Media!" and "Web 2.0 Services!"

    They even forgot how to make their phones simple to use and reliable.

    And the rest of the story, you can fill in your good selves...

    {where's the icon for "crumbling cookie"?}

  19. BitTwister

    @Oh please!

    > I just wish REAL cameras had it. [GPS coordinate logging in images]

    The Nikon D3 has it once a bolt-on is er, bolted on. Unfortunately this stuff tends to come only at REAL (read as: eye-watering) prices...

    I've written software which will incorporate GPS coordinates into the image file's EXIF data area. It relies on the output from a GPS data logger (< £100, about the size of a small mobile: which I switch on when starting a roaming photography session. It's relatively easy to then have software match (+/- a fiddle factor) the existing date/time fields in an image's EXIF data with the date/time/location fields in the output file from the data logger and extract the coordinates.

  20. Brett Brennan

    Anyone ever hear of a database?

    With the proliferation of "consumer" database tools (Access, MySQL, SQLite, etc.) it's easy enough to set up an application (or even do it manually) to build a database that has cross-referenced tag data as attributes in different entities that have a relationship to a photo file name. You can then search the relationships using standard query language or forms queries. OLE (remember OLE?) allows you to click on the file link and open the picture.

    Of course this requires either some user work (writing the app or linking up the tools) or the purchase or open-source search for the appropriate tool(s). But if you have thousands or tens of thousands of images (and some of my professional photog friends DO have libraries this size - several terabytes of images) you are going to be doing some tagging already - even if it's simple automated addition of date-time-lat-lon to the images.

    Nokia's concept is certainly a step in the correct direction. If they could add a short voice note or, better yet, a voice note to text tagging application in the phone, then truly Nokia would be Gods among Men...

    (BTW - great rejoinders, Andrew!)

  21. Danny Thompson

    So let me see if I've got this right .....

    .. Not only can you now be tracked everywhere you go , but you can also take [incriminating] photographs at these places too. FFS don't let the Wife/Mistress/Girlfriend get her hands on the technology!

    Mines the one with the black helicopter logo :)

  22. Bad Beaver


    I mean, of course all the tagging might be way helpful for pros who get around a lot, snapping hundreds of shots a day but "normal" people... pull out that shoebox full of old snaps and look at them. You may remember a lot more about the how, when and where than you would think you would. Amazing thing, memory.

  23. W
    Thumb Up

    Re: yikes...

    Indeed. Digital shoeboxes. With dates on. That'll do for fine for me, cheers.

    All you pros out there are obviously welcome to jump in and compile your photo databases.

  24. Paul
    Black Helicopters

    battery hogging gps?

    GPS is becoming ubuiquitous (sp?), and mainly I'm pleased, but it still tends to sap battery power. I read about a new product which claims to be able offer always-on GPS service without being a power hog.

    FX:google google.

    oh yes, here it is

  25. Bob
    Thumb Up

    Viewing photos in Google Earth

    "Unfortunately Google Earth doesn't parse the exif gps info when you load it."

    There are some applications that can create kmz files for use in Google Earth - I use RoboGeo and iTag

  26. Paul M.


    Good post.

    If Nokia spent more time trying to make phones as good as the 6310i, and less time on Web 2.0 gimmicks, they'd have me back as a customer

  27. Law
    Paris Hilton


    I stopped using Nokia phones around about 2003.... recently I got an N95 though, with a 3g contract and the feature rich n95 I've become a Nokia fan.... I only wish that the phone was slightly thinner, and the battery lasted twice as long. Other than that - Nokia seem to be getting usable again.

    Paris loves the Sidekick - media whore indeed! :)

  28. Anonymous Coward

    De-tag Nokia Photos

    Tea Vui Huang's Photo Detagger

    Wipe out all embedded / hidden EXIF metatag information from your phone photos before sending them out or posting it on the Internet! Photo Detagger removes the tags without damaging the photos and in the process even reduces the size of the JPEG photos by about 3-5 KBytes as well.

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