DailyDev: Geotagging

June 10, 2010

DailyDev series thumbnail logo -- day 6Location, location, location. With the coming mobile revolution, I’ve written before, the mantra increasingly applies to a lot more than real estate. It behooves Web publishers to start semantically geotagging their content. For today’s DailyDev, I assigned locational information to a Web page, a WordPress blog post and a Flickr set.

WEB PAGE

I used geo meta tags to indicate the location of the speech that was the subject of this live coverage page.

  1. The “geo.position” meta tag uses latitude and longitude coordinates. I grabbed the coordinates for the event location from Google Maps. I simply switched to “My Maps,” toggled to satellite view, placed a marker over the appropriate building and grabbed the coordinates by clicking on the marker, then on “more,” then on “send.” The latitude and longitude are part of the link in the “Message” window.
  2. The “geo.placename” and “geo.region” meta tags use city, state and country information. Nothing fancy there.
  3. Putting it all together, I added the three meta tags to the <head> section of my HTML document.

Finished Product

<meta name="geo.position" content="36.109018; -79.506705" />
<meta name="geo.placename" content="Elon, NC" />
<meta name="geo.region" content="US-NC" />

WORDPRESS POST

  1. WordPress support has an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to enable and apply geotagging.
  2. Once geotagging is enabled, a “Location” window will appear at the bottom of all “Edit Post” pages. You can enter in a street address, select a location on a Google map, or have your computer detect your location.
  3. As long as “This post’s location is public” is checked, the location will be recorded the next time you save your post.

Finished Product

Screengrab of WordPress.Com window for geotagging a blog post

FLICKR

Geotagging Flickr content is even simpler thanks to the photo sharing site’s interactive map interface.

  1. Log in to your Flickr account and click “Organize & Create” in the menu at the top of the page.
  2. In the dropdown in the lower-left corner, select the set or other grouping of photos you want to geotag. If you want to see all photos that haven’t been assigned a location, choose “Your non-geotagged content.”
  3. Click the “Map” tab at the top of the screen and drag and drop your photos into the appropriate locations on the map. You can quickly navigate to a specific address by typing it into the search box in the upper-right.

Finished Product

Screen grab of geotagged Flickr photo set.

Pros

  • Manual geotagging is pretty simple to do, as the above examples indicate.
  • More and more Web services and platforms are automating geotagging. If you tweet (eat your heart out, New York Times), for instance, you’ve probably noticed Twitter’s location feature.
  • Geotagging makes your content more useful to you and others, especially mobile users.

Cons

  • No standardized way of geotagging Web content has emerged.
  • Services that attempt to automatically pick up users’ location are often inaccurate.
  • There are a whole host of privacy concerns for those sharing as well as collecting locational data.

Tip

Recommend?

  • Yes. The location train is revving up. It’s time to get on.
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