“Kimz” left a comment over on the blog’s “About” page asking about geotagging of audio, so I thought that was a good excuse to bring the topic back up here.
Even less audio (and video, for that matter) seems to get geotagged than pictures, and even though more photographs online are getting geotagged automatically by GPS-enabled cellphones, I still usually find myself disappointed when running into an interesting photograph online and finding no geographical information in the image telling me where it was taken.
I have the same kind of interest in where and when other kinds of recordings where made. I’m obviously not the only one: the Freesound project also maintains geographical information for some of the sound recordings they have. Unfortunately, although they SAY the recordings are “geotagged”, they’re not.
Take this sound sample, for example. It’s an ambient sound recording from the lobby of an office building, and you can see there’s a link to a map showing where the recording was made. However…if you download the actual sound file, there is not geographical information associated with it at all. If the geographical information is not directly attached to the file, then I maintain that the file is not “geotagged”.
Let’s say I work in a very odd sort of specialty shop, and one day we get in a shipment of inflatable anatomically-correct life-sized Australian marsupials. “Price-tag these”, the boss says. The next day someone asks the boss how much the inflatable male platypodes are. “Isn’t it on the price tag?” “There is no price tag!” When the boss chews me out for not doing my job, do you think I’ll be forgiven when I explain that I DID “price-tag” the shipment…by writing down the prices in a little notebook that I keep with me, separate from the actual merchandise? No? Then keeping the geographical information in a little database that your server keeps separate from the files isn’t “geotagging”, either!
I suppose the bizarre and potentially incoherent nature of that example just serves to illustrate my over-busy and under-slept state. Anyway, the point is that I’d love to see more geographically-tagged media, and I open up this post for discussion of how, why, and what to geotag. (For “How”, I would offer up my “Geostrings” proposal as an option that ought to be feasible for virtually any kind of media…).
If they ever get around to publishing “Mapping Hacks, Volume 2”, what should the entry for geotagging media include?