Your Maps, Your Phone, Your Photographs ? Part 1

Jeff Smallwood

Posted August 13, 2010 in: How To  Techniques 

Google MobileWith the continued growth in web and “app” capable phones among the public, it is no surprise folks continue to find new ways to utilize this technology for everyday tasks. One area of particular interest for photographers (besides the actual photo capabilities of your phone) may be the maps. Using your phone’s map capabilities can help accomplish two tasks. First, it can help you geotag where you took a photo and second, it can help document locations you’d like to visit later.

If you’re new to geotagging , it is the process of recording the location where a photograph was taken using latitude, longitude, and sometimes altitude. Flickr, Picasa, Google Maps, and some GPS enabled cameras support geotagging, and with the data you can display photographs on a map very easily. For example, click here to see a Flickr map with geotagged photos of Calvert County

I’ll be explaining these techniques using Google Maps because it is the most widely available “app” for phones and is also accessible via your phone’s web browser. If you don’t already have the Google Maps App on your phone, visit Google  to get it.

For Part 1 I’ll cover two potential uses for the “Starred Items” feature. Say you’re on a nature trail and you want to record the location where you just took a great shot. Or say you’re driving down the road and come across an amazing view where you’d like to come back and take pictures later (which happens to me all the time). Just bring up Google Maps (pull over first if you’re driving!), display your current location (GPS enabled phones will do this automatically), and “star” it. You can do this over and over as you move to new locations through the day. When needed, just open your map again to view the list of starred items and you have an instant record of where you took your photographs or where you’d like to get back to. If you have a Google account (which is free), you get even more functionality because your starred items will automatically sync with your Google account. That way you can view all the starred locations by visiting Google Maps in your favorite web browser on your computer rather than having to go back to your phone.

Hint: From your computer it is easier and faster to view the starred locations and bring up satellite or other information about those locations.

Google Maps
For more information about Google’s Starred Items feature, visit here the support section.

In Part 2 I’ll cover how to use the “My Maps” feature to keep track of photo locations and explain how to view those locations on your phone while out shooting.

About Jeff Smallwood -

Jeff shoots for fun and as a personal creative outlet. From his first Polaroid Big Swinger 3000 Land Camera to the digital SLRs of today, he enjoys experimenting with many different types of photography ranging from still life and astrophotography to portraits and black & white.

He maintains a blog and photo website at


Great article - I look forward to part 2! Really cool to see your images on a map.

Comment from Guy Stephens on August 13, 2010

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