Geotagging images

It’s quite easy to upload location-specific or ‘geo-tagged’ images — of local campaigns or damaging projects in your neighbourhood, for example. However, it's rare to find a camera that can do this automatically. This page explains other ways it can be done.

However, before you geotag your images you should consider your own safety and the safety of your subjects. It is possible for the ‘author’ and ‘location’ data to be read by others who can then track you and your subjects. If you don’t want to risk this, don’t geotag - or just provide general location data, such as a keyword, as specific or non-specific as you need it to be in the cricumstances.

Embed ‘IPTC’ information about location into your actual image

IPTC stands for International Press Telecommunications Council. IPTC data is text information that you can embed in your image, which then gets transferred with it. People will be able to read your additional information if they look at your photograph's IPTC data.

It’s definitely a good idea to fill in at least some of this if you can (and if you want to). For example, you can include information about yourself, where you are from and your contact details; the name, description and location of the subject of your image; and keywords. (By the way, if you include the keywords in your IPTC data, our image library can let users search and find those keywords, you don’t have to input them again when you upload the image to the website.) You can also include the latitude and longitude data in the description if you want to.

You need to look for a menu option in the image editing software on your computer that says something similar to ‘file info’. You can find guidelines about IPTC data here.

Create a Google Maps link for your image, and input it when you upload the image

If you enter a Google Maps URL link when you are uploading your image, users looking at your image will be able to click on a link to view the location where the image was taken.

If you have access to Google Maps on a computer, put the address of the subject of the photograph into the search engine. When Google Maps has found the address, click on the ‘link’ icon (which looks like a chain link), and then tick the ‘Short URL’ box. Copy this 'short URL' into our 'Google Maps URL link' box when you are uploading your image. (Please note, however, this box does not show when you first upload the image, you need to go back to it and revise it, by selecting the icon with the little pencil.)

Use a mobile phone

Smart phones that have a built-in camera and GPS (Geographical Positioning System) can also be used. You could take the same photo again with your camera, so that you can later add the data recorded by your phone to the IPTC data in the image taken on your camera. Of course, you could also upload the image directly from your phone, if the quality of the photograph is good enough.

Using your smart phone probably requires you to access menu choices that say something like ‘settings’, ‘general’, ‘location’. On an iphone, for example, you need to do this and then make sure that ‘camera’ and ‘location services’ are both switched on.

Use a GPS device, with a GPS-ready camera or handheld

It is possible to buy GPS devices to operate either as a camera attachment or independently (in which case the time data from the GPS device and the camera are compared, to match up the images and location data). This expensive option isn't necessary though, and we wouldn't recommend it.