Recording the Locations of Your Family Photographs

When going through a box of old photographs or viewing the latest digital pictures on your computer, did you ever ask, “I wonder where this photograph was taken?” Now a free software tool can record the exact location of every digital picture in your collection. This includes old family photographs that you have scanned as well as new pictures that you or someone else takes with a digital camera.

This product will not do the detective work for you. You must still find where the picture was taken in the traditional manner. For instance, “Here is Aunt Millie and Uncle Fred at Niagara Falls” or something similar. You then scan the photograph, saving it as a JPEG image. Once the photograph is on your hard drive, you use this small Windows program to embed the longitude and latitude information into the photograph in a hidden area of the image. Once the information is recorded, you and future viewers of the image will wonder no more. Even better, with the appropriate software, you can just click on an icon to display a map that shows the exact location.

Panorado Flyer adds the latitude and longitude to any JPEG image, available to any EXIF (geographic-aware) program for future use. This is possible because Panorado Flyer takes advantage of the fact that JPEG image files can contain supplementary information (so-called Metadata).

The added information is not visible when looking at the image but can be read by any software that looks for EXIF information. EXIF programs used to be rare but have become more and more popular in recent years. The best-known one probably is Google Earth, a free online service.

Technical metadata as described by the EXIF standard can include fields for GPS data, such as geographical latitude/longitude, altitude, and track. The Panorado Flyer tool enables you to get the coordinates of the place where the picture was shot and insert them into these hidden fields within the photograph.

You can add the information manually, using a dialog window. Or, if you have installed the Google Earth client (which can be downloaded for free), you can search for the location there, drag it to the center of the map window, then change to Panorado flyer, grab the coordinates, and insert them into the selected image, all without typing any numbers. Later on, you could be displaying the photograph to family members on your computer. With a few mouseclicks on the photo, you can make Google Earth “fly” you to the location where the picture was taken.

Most cell phone cameras and a few SLR digital cameras also will automatically attach EXIF information to all newly-created photographs. The cameras actually have a built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) device that always knows the exact latitude and longitude. If your cell phone or camera is able to save the location along with the image, fine! However, Panorado Flyer is handy when scanning old family photographs or any other photo not taken with a cell phone camera.

In effect, geo-coding has become the standard method for recording “where this photograph was taken.” Panorado Flyer will record the geo-coding information for any JPEG image.

How much does Panorado Flyer cost? Nothing – it’s free! Panorado Flyer for Windows is available at:
https://panorado.com/en/PanoradoFlyer.php.

4 Comments

Jesper Beenfeldt Nielsen March 24, 2017 at 6:17 am

Looks interesting. Until now many of us have used this tool – also free of charge: http://www.geosetter.de/en/

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This would really be cool for cemetery work. Do you know of something to help identify the “time or date” of a photo even a postal card image? chb

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I have 2 questions:
From what I’ve read, it is best to save photos as TIFF files to preserve their quality when they are copied, edited, etc. It sounds like these must be JPEGs— so perhaps save a copy as a JPEG and use that to attach the data, or…?
Also, what do you recommend for Macs, or is the built-in file info window equivalent?
Thanks.

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    TIFF files also may contain EXIF data in the same manner as JPG files. However, the Windows program I write about only handles JPG.

    —> Also, what do you recommend for Macs, or is the built-in file info window equivalent?

    I am not aware of any built-in capability to edit EXIF information with a Macintosh. (If anyone else knows of a method, please jump in here and let us all know.) However, there are several third-party utilities for Macintosh that will edit EXIF data, including ExifTool, Photos Exif Editor by Systweak, and others. Go to the Apple App Store and search for “EXIF editor” (without the quotes) and you will find a bunch of them.

    You also can use the eXif.er, a cloud-based EXIF editor at https://www.thexifer.net/ that does not require any software installation. It works with all operating systems: Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iOS, Android, and probably others.

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