A Grand Experiment

May 12, 2008 at 6:26 pm (Computers, Environment, Family, Travel)

My two fearless readers: I am about to request your participation in an experiment so thrilling, so dangerous, that I would not be surprised at all if you disowned me at the very first mention of it. Yes, I need your help testing… my geotagging.

“Your what?” you might say.

“My geotagging,” I would calmly reply, only the fires of anticipation glowing in my eyes to display my real excitement.

By now, I’m sure Shannon, at least, is absolutely convinced that impending fatherhood has driven me off the deep end. And while that may be true, if this is the deep end, then the water is a balmy 72 degrees and I’ve got snorkel gear. I’ve discussed geotagging before, the act of adding latitude and longitude coordinates to files, such as digital photos, so that they can be plotted on a map. Well, with the baby coming, I’ve decided it’s time to get off my duff and really learn how to do that, while I still have some free time. But now that I’ve done it, I need some help finding out if I’ve succeeded or not.

Here’s the short version of a long story: I’ve tagged a bunch of photos from my camping trip at Joshua Tree this past weekend with GPS coordinates. Then, I created a KML file, which is essentially a “map” file, that shows the route of one of the hikes that we did and has some of those photos, along with a little bit of description, marked at the appropriate places in the route. I would very much appreciate it if either of you would install Google Earth on your computer (it is a free download from Google, and can be a lot of fun/educational, too), and then try to download the KML file from this link and open it with Google Earth. It should take you directly to the portion of the earth on which I’ve mapped the route and zoom in on the path, which will be in purple. There will also be little yellow pushpins along the route: By clicking on those pushpins, you’ll open up a window that includes my photos and their descriptions.

If you don’t feel like doing it, don’t worry, actually. It’s not that big of a deal. I really just want people to “ooo” and “ahh” over how incredibly brilliant I am. However, if you do, then you’ll get to see some lovely scenery from Joshua Tree National Park, plus you’ll encourage me to do more of the same with my other photos. I still have three more hikes’ worth of photos from Joshua Tree, many of which include some of the most beautiful wildflowers and flowering cacti I’ve ever seen, that I could geotag and map out. That is, if I can find the time…

KML is


  1. sms said,

    WOW! Even with a slow mind (mine) and a slower graphics set-up (the computer’s) this was AWESOME! You ARE brilliant – can’t wait to show the kids! More! More!

  2. Jake said,

    Uncle John, VERY COOL! Can you do more?!

  3. marystan said,

    Back in town, will do soon. I’m still a reader……pant, pant

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