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Geotag Your Photos on the Spot

June 29, 2008

In “When Your Camera Knows Where Your Are“, David Pogue introduces some new SD memory cards from Eye-Fi, which can give your digital camera new usages: wireless upload to computer (Home; US$79.99), plus unlimited Webshare Service (Share; $99.99), plus Unlimited Geotagging & 1-year hotspot access (Explore $129.99). All with the capacity of 2 GB, which is plenty if you don’t shoot photos in RAW format.

The one that really interests me is the geotagging function in Eye-Fi Explore. Just as Mr. Pogue said, finding out how it’s done is more interesting. The positioning technique is not done via GPS, but through W.P.S. (Wi-Fi Posisting system), just like the first-generation iPhone.

This tiny card can detect the Wi-Fi base stations nearby (from its unique MAC address), up to 1,500 feet (457 meters). Then according to the strength of the signal and the database of Skyhook (who also provides service for Apple’s iPhone), which store the location information of more than 50 million Wi-Fi base stations around the world, it can calculate your current position, accurate to around 100 feet (30.5 meters).

How did they produce such a database? By 500 Skyhook employees driving aournd major cities in the last five years. 😯 The system can also self learn to update the location of a moved Wi-Fi base station (as long as the others nearby remain unchanged).

You probably wouldn’t think this would work in the first place, but in the end it does work, at least in the major cities in US, Europe and some Asian region. However, tn the wild you’ll still need the real GPS thing.

It’s cool but not really needed for me, considering the price.

Note: currently a 2GB SD card is less than US$9.

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