capsule review

RoboGeo

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder RoboGeo

Knowing exactly where a photo was taken can be incredibly useful. Insurance agents can not only pinpoint the damage, but can look at a map of the intersection where an accident took place. Real estate agents can create a virtual walking tour of houses in a particular neighborhood. And world travelers can retrace almost every step they took on a vacation.

RoboGeo makes the act of "geocoding" (adding geographic location data) to an image file very easy. You simply point the program at a folder full of photos (or a single one), then use any of a number of data files created by a GPS device or an application like Google Earth to pinpoint the precise location where the photo was taken, and RoboGeo does the rest.

The program accepts geographic data in a number of formats: GPS tracklogs or waypoint files; NMEA files; or you can look up the location with a built-in search engine, with Google Earth, or you can manually enter the latitude and longitude coordinates yourself. Once the images have been geocoded, you can write the location data to the image file's EXIF headers, stamp the image with the coordinates, export the file to a Google Earth KML file, or export the geocoded image to Flickr, MapPoint, or Google Maps. If you're so inclined, you can even annotate the image with a prerecorded audio file.

RoboGeo's trial version offers the full features of the registered version, but incorporates a fairly large, random error rate into the geocoding data (the location data can be as much as a full kilometer off from the true location). Instead of a nice smooth path from one photo to the next, the geocoding will export KML files that make it look like you're zigzagging around all over the place. But if you want to do a lot of geocoding of your image files, RoboGeo is about the easiest and most full-featured tool you can use, and the registration fee might be well worth it.

Note from the vendor: Intentional errors are introduced in the demo version that cause the latitude and longitude values to be inaccurate by up to about a kilometer. Otherwise, the demo is fully functional.

--Andrew Brandt

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder RoboGeo

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